Not many use the flight of steps constructed as part of the road overbridge
Nearly six years after a massive road overbridge replaced a level crossing near the Chromepet railway station, the facility hardly seems to serve its purpose as pedestrians continue to cross the track risking their lives.
The ROB, which replaced the railway level-crossing (LC No. 28) at Madras Institute of Technology Gate near Chromepet railway station, was completed in 2005. While vehicles make use of the facility, built at a cost of nearly Rs.30 crore, pedestrians continue to walk across the track to reach either sides.
According to officials of the Safety Organisation of Southern Railway's Chennai Division, nearly 600 pedestrians were killed after being hit by trains while walking across the track every year in this division. In the southern suburbs of Chennai, as many as 150 fatalities were reported every year and Chromepet was a dangerous spot.
Officials of the State Highways Department said the ROB at MIT Gate was constructed as part of the gauge conversion project to replace all railway level crossings between Chennai Beach and Tambaram to ensure “through put enhancement.” The twin objectives were to reduce waiting time of electric trains at signals near such level-crossings and also to lessen the incidents of people getting killed while crossing the tracks.
They said that as per the design, a flight of steps was to be provided on either sides of the bridge. On completion, the level crossing had to be permanently closed and a fence constructed to prevent pedestrians from crossing the track. However, the flight of steps on only one side of the bridge – southern side – was completed while flight of steps on the northern side could not be completed owing to a temple's structure in the way.
Residents of Hasthinapuram and Chromepet said the objective of the bridge was to prevent people from walking across the track and wondered why the level-crossing was yet to be closed down even so many years after the multi-crore project was finished. Pointing to the ROB that was completed and commissioned near the Tambaram Sanatorium railway station a few months ago, the residents said the level-crossing was closed down the day after the bridge was dedicated and wondered why it was not followed in the case of the MIT ROB.
Residents said school and college students and office-goers walk across the track exposing themselves to immense risks everyday.
To prevent further loss of lives, the Southern Railway had to fence the level crossing so that pedestrians were encouraged to use the flight of steps of the ROB.