With severe traffic congestion being witnessed following the closure of the Cauvery bridge in the city, to facilitate the execution of a major rehabilitation work on the more than 45-year-old structure, the city police on Tuesday put in place measures to streamline the traffic flow.
The Cauvery bridge was closed for traffic from Sunday and the district administration had announced a traffic diversion plan which envisaged diversion of traffic between the island of Srirangam and Tiruchi city via the Chennai-Tiruchi Bypass Road. The closure of the bridge on the arterial road lead to chaotic traffic, especially during the peak hours. With two wheelers being allowed on the bridge, severe congestion was witnessed as a large number of two-wheeler riders jostled for space on the narrow way open for them. Traffic hold-ups were witnessed on the Bypass Road too.
As heavy congestion continued on the Cauvery bridge on Tuesday morning too, the police placed several temporary barricades, around the spots where workers were engaged in repair works on the bridge, to regulate the two-wheeler traffic.
By evening, the police placed temporary road dividers along the way open for two-wheelers. This helped to bring in a semblance of order on the bridge.
Traffic cops have been posted on both sides of the bridge and other places to regulate traffic along the diversion routes. About 40 traffic cops have been deployed for the purpose, according to sources in the city police.
The initial move to allow two-way traffic on the old Cauvery bridge on the Bypass Road was also discontinued. Vehicles diverted through the Kumbakonathan Salai are now not allowed to take a right turn. Instead they have to turn left as earlier and make a U-turn to join the Bypass Road and proceed towards Chathram / Central Bus Stand from Srirangam. “This is much better than allowing two-way traffic on the old bridge, which caused heavy congestion and could have led to accidents,” said a traffic police personnel on duty. However, traffic hold-ups continue at Sanjeevi Nagar intersection where vehicles take another U-turn to go via the Odathurai Road.
While welcoming the initiatives of the police, some of the residents of Srirangam and commuters, however, have called for certain additional measures to ease the situation. Suresh Venkatachalam, president, Srirangam Nagara Nala Sangam, suggested that the repair works be taken up during the night hours and the timings of colleges and higher secondary schools be staggered in the city.
N.Ramakrishnan, founder, MGR Nalpani Mandram, observed that public transport connectivity to important places such as Mambazhasalai and Amma Mandapam areas have been affected. The schedule of town buses has gone awry as they have to take a detour. The authorities should come up with a blue print to ensure that access to public transport was ensured in all areas of Srirangam until the project is completed, he said.
Meanwhile, bus fares to destinations to Srirangam and beyond from the city have been hiked ₹ 1 in view of the detour.
Mr.Ramakrishnan suggests that the old Cauvery bridge on the Bypass Road be exclusively used for local traffic and all traffic on the highway be allowed only through the new bridge. This, he contends, would help unhindered traffic movement on the highway.
The rehabilitation work on the Cauvery bridge in the city, taken up by the Highways Department at an estimated cost of ₹ 6.87 crore, is expected to take about five months to complete. While works on the foundation has been executed, repairs on the structure above and the road surface have been taken up now.