Senior citizen Mahboobjan does not use Taramani Link Road, which connects the IT Corridor (OMR) with Vijayanagar in Velachery. “Even buses find it difficult to navigate the road as there are many uneven stretches. It is hardly pedestrian friendly,” he said.
For pedestrians and motorists, traversing the 3.5 km six-lane road is a nightmare. While motorists have to wait for at least half an hour to get through a mere 1.5 km, pedestrians are even worse off.
At present, one side of the road is closed for the construction of a 3,500-m long canal to carry rainwater from Velachery to the Buckingham Canal.
“Portions of the closed side of the road are used by those on foot. But when construction material comes in the way, as it often does, we are forced to get back to the part of the road where vehicles ply,” said N. Kumar, who runs a water wash facility in the locality.
The recent rains only have added to pedestrians’ difficulties. “On several stretches street lighting is insufficient. Other stretches of the footpath are used as parking spaces, are strewn with garbage, or are used as open toilets. The stench is unbearable. It would help pedestrians greatly if the filth is removed and some sand is sprinkled to remove the slush,” said U. Pavalaselvan, a resident of neighbouring Perungudi.
Alongside the work on building the canal, work to construct two foot overbridges too is also on. “These stretches do not have any space for pedestrians. Residents are forced to walk on the carriageway, jostling amidst heavy traffic, which is dangerous. A lot of schoolchildren also walk on the road as they have no choice,” said N. Varadarajan, who has a furniture manufacturing facility adjacent to the road.
The Highways Department began work to widen the road in July 2009 at a cost of Rs. 23.45 crore using World Bank funds. This was to have been completed in 15 months. However, the project had to be put on hold midway, as the canal had to be built first.
According to sources, so far of the 3,500 m of the canal, only 1,100 m have been completed and handed over. Another 400 m will soon be handed over to the Highways Department. Around 14 m of work is being completed each day, and the new deadline for the project is November. After this, the Highways Department will require one more month to complete its work of strengthening and widening the road.
“We have set a new deadline and hopefully, by the end of the year, work will be completed,” said a source at the department.
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