Several arterial stretches in Chennai are prone to accidents

At least 400 to 500 stretches are estimated to be damaged in the city,.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Let’s start with the facts of the case, since they are so persuasive: Residents and motorists have reported a number of civic issues pertaining to 471 bus route roads and 33,000 streets in the city.

The condition of roads has worsened after the announcement of elections as most of the Corporation officials on election duty with static surveillance teams, flying squads and other election work have not returned to their place of work.

Accidents on many roads

Motorists have reported accidents along many stretches because of a delay in restoration of roads after digging by line agencies. For example, Cathedral Road, once one of the best maintained roads in the city because former Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi lived on either side of the road, was dug up by Metrowater pipelines three months ago. Metrowater has paid the money for restoration of the road.

But Metrowater officials have not intimated the completion of the work to the Chennai Corporation, causing a delay in restoration of the stretch by the Bus Route Road Department. “Driving a motorcycle on the stretch is unsafe,” said R. Saravanan, a motorist.

Motorists point to cement patches on Sardar Patel Road near the gate of Central Leather Research Institute. Potholes on Pantheon Road along the stretch between Adithanar Statue towards Greams Road have not been restored.

Meanwhile, the Chennai Corporation has started collecting a list of damaged stretches among 33,000 interior roads to restore the stretches. But the work will be taken up only after completion of elections later this month.

Each zone has sent a list of at least 50 to 70 streets that have been damaged.

“Local body representative used to inform the Corporation about damaged roads during the zonal meeting every month. For the past few years, there have been no local body representatives because of the delay in conducting local body elections. Officials are not concerned about the damaged roads,” said former Corporation Floor Leader V. Sukumar Babu.

400 stretches damaged

Even as Chennai Corporation officials claimed that the condition of roads has improved in the city, at least 400 to 500 stretches are estimated to be damaged in the city, causing a rise in road traffic accidents in such spots. Motorists taking Kothari Road in Nungambakkam have also reported to the Chennai Corporation about damage to one portion of the stretch because of frequent heavy vehicle movement due to construction activity in the area.

Unauthorised digging

Another civic issue reported by residents is about the delay in getting permission for new service connections for new houses. “We have not accepted applications for road cuts because of the Model Code of Conduct,” said an official. But many residents have dug up roads without proper clearance from the civic agency, disrupting motorist movement along the stretches.

Optic fibre cables maintained by telecom service providers in the roads have been frequently damaged by other line agencies and for implementing Corporation projects.

For example, a service provider commissioned optical fibre cables for 1,300 km in the central business district areas to meet the demand till 2050. But many of the cables have been removed during the development of a civic infrastructure project from Vivekananda College to Mundakakanniaman Koil Street. The cause of the problem is the lack of coordination between the line agencies and telecom service providers at the local level. When residents complain about a problem caused by disruption of services, the service providers have not been able to trace the problem in many areas.

Digging of roads for high tension lines in added areas is another problem. After the cyclone in 2016, the city has planned to take the high tension lines underground to prevent any disaster. But the restoration of dug up stretches have been delayed in many added areas.

The highs and lows

Undulations in certain portions of the roads have caused frequent accidents in many areas. But this issue has not been resolved by the civic agencies. Motorists have reported accidents near The Park Hotel in Nungambakkam because of undulations. “The surface has been damaged because one lakh vehicles cross the spot every day,” said an official.

The Chennai Corporation has not yet devised a strategy to improve the frequency of maintenance of the stretches to prevent accidents. Officials have suggested maintenance every 18 months instead of three years in some of the accident-prone spots. But the civic agency is also concerned about the escalation of cost because of such maintenance.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:32:41 PM |

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