Projects to ease traffic congestion yet to take off

Traders come in the way of land acquisition which is necessary for some works

Since a number of infrastructure projects including flyovers and railway overbridges are in the pipeline only, traffic congestion is likely to prevail for some more time in the town.

Recently, the Department of Highways suggested a number of steps to be taken to improve the ambient air quality after Thoothukudi was named as the lone ‘non-attainment city’ under the National Clean Air Programme for violating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

One of the key projects is the VVD signal flyover, initially announced in November, 2011.

It could have reduced traffic congestion on Palayamkottai Road but got delayed due to legal hurdles.

The proposed flyover starts near south police station and ends near the corporation park helping vehicle users skip traffic signal. The flyover was planned to be 570 metres long and 12 metres wide.

Earlier, ₹ 9.75 crore was allocated by the Department of Highways for land acquisition and shifting of utilities including power and water lines.

However, a few businessmen whose lands were to be acquired for the purpose filed a case in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. The highway officials said that efforts had been made for early hearing in the case.

Projects to ease traffic at railway gates that cut across roads have also been met with similar opposition from traders.

A few weeks ago, opinion was sought for land acquisition for construction of a railway overbridge at the second railway gate.

Traders reportedly opposed the project at a meeting held in this connection.

“The railway station should be moved to Meelavittan to allow development of the town,” said a functionary of a traders’ association who participated in the meeting.

He said any construction would create problem during car festivals at the Sivan temple.

Pollution can be reduced by reducing travel time and number of stops, say officials. Conversion of third railway gate flyover into a two-tier structure, creation of proper pedestrian infrastructure, taking up maintenance and repair of roads, end-to-end carpeting of road with black topping to avoid dust and creation of green buffers and planting saplings have been suggested to reduce air pollution.

Meanwhile, traffic violations including plying of heavy vehicles on the third railway gate flyover against traffic rules and unregulated parking creates problem in traffic.

Action plan

A total of 102 cities in the country have been classified as ‘non-attainment cities’ for violation of National Ambient Air Quality Standards from 2011-15.

According to officials, the PM10 levels in Thoothukudi hover around 100-110 micrograms per cubic metre while the prescribed norms for PM10 levels is 60.

Various factors including industries, automobiles, generator sets, domestic fuel burning, roadside dust and construction activities contribute to the problem.

Following a meeting held earlier this month with officials from various departments, suggestions to improve ambient air quality would be given by various organisations including the Corporation, Regional Transport Office, Department of Highways, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation.

Action would be classified based on the period required for execution into immediate, short, medium and long terms, said officials.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 4:08:25 AM |

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