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Road-widening: slow pace of work hits traffic

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Set for facelift:The widening of Taramani Link Road will benefit hundreds of motorists.
Set for facelift:The widening of Taramani Link Road will benefit hundreds of motorists.

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan and R. Srikanth

Snarls common on Taramani Link Road

CHENNAI: Seven months after work to widen Taramani Link Road began, many of the residents and motorists who use the road that links Velachery to Rajiv Gandhi Salai complain that the work seems to have slowed down.

The pace of the work, to widen the road to a six-lane, was causing severe hardship to users and resulting in traffic snarls during rush hour. Residents said that with a portion of the road remaining unusable because of the widening work, the narrow two-lane road was unable to accommodate the heavy flow of traffic.

Pedestrians at risk

“Even during non-rush hour, it takes at least 30 minutes for vehicles to cross the 6 km road,” said R. Balakrishnan, a resident of Seshadripuram.

But the most affected are pedestrians, who in the absence of footpaths or foot overbridges, risk their lives both while walking along and crossing the road. Compounding the problem for them and motorists are the encroachments on the road in the form of petty shops.

M. Sekhar, a resident of Tansi Nagar 18th Street, wondered why the Highways Department needs to construct a stormwater drain as part of the road widening project, as there is already such a facility. The new stormwater drain would reduce the road width, he complained.

There are also other residents who want the stormwater drain network to be strengthened and expanded, considering that Velachery is flood prone, but want such work to be completed at the earliest, particularly when connected to the road widening project.

Work on widening the Taramani Link Road began in July 2009 and the project is scheduled to be completed in 18 months. Since the launch of the work, a stretch of the road had been dug up and partly filled up.

According to residents, though the road-widening work has affected the traffic and often results in close shaves for many motorists, there seems to be little change with regard to those who use the road margins for parking vehicles and live on pavements.

Delay in shifting

Officials of the Highways Department said that that various agencies, including Chennai Metrowater, BSNL and TNEB, had taken up shifting of utilities only after the excavation work was started by the Highways. “Though we had paid the shifting fee more than a year ago, some agencies have not taken up the work, which is the reason for the delay,” he said.

The contractor had been asked to complete the work as soon as possible. In a couple of months three lanes would be ready, he added.

A saving grace for the motorists is the patchwork carried out a few days ago to fill many potholes.

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