The small dilapidated bridge across the Cooum river below the Koyambedu flyover, connecting Tirumangalam and Koyambedu, is being misused as a parking lot for share autorickshaws.
As a result of this, traffic movement on Jawaharlal Nehru (J.N) Main Road and the service lane that connects the bridge with Poonamallee High Road near Koyambedu theatre complex, is hindered.
Commuters coming from Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) quarters and other residential colonies along the Cooum river walk to the bus stop in Koyambedu to board buses towards Madhavaram, Puzhal, Ambattur and Red Hills. The bus stop is located more than 500 metres from the dilapidated bridge below the Koyambedu flyover. Commuters, especially senior citizens and women, find it risky to cross the section of P.H. Road below the Koyambedu flyover to reach the bus stop due to continuous movement of vehicles from Koyambedu that take a right turn to reach Maduravoyal and other areas on P.H. Road. As a result, for the last few months, many share autorickshaws have started to stop at the bridge to pick and drop commuters. “Share autos halt at the intersection of the narrow service lane and the bridge, blocking the entire space for motorists on the service lane. We have to shout at them to park away from the narrow intersection,” says A. Satish, a motorist from Anna Nagar.
For residents, the bridge is a short-cut and less congested way to reach the city through PH Road via Koyambedu. During weekdays, motorists from adjoining areas including Ambattur, Nolambur, Mogappair, Padi, Mannurpet, Aannoor and Kolathur take the bridge to reach their workplace. Weekends, the bridge helps locals to reach the Koyambedu wholesale market in less time to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. Residents in the neighbourhood also found it easy to go to the wholesale market as the distance between Padi Kuppam, Tirumangalam and Koyembedu is around a kilometre.
Motorists use the service lane beneath the Koyambedu flyover as the narrow stretch is the only easy connectivity from Koyambedu and Maduravoyal to reach Anna Nagar, Villivakkam and other areas via Tirumangalam flyover. As a result, most of the motorists from these areas use the service lane to reach areas north of Anna Nagar like Retteri, Korattur, Kolathur, ICF, Madhavaram and Mathur.
A month ago, the traffic police attached to the Koyambedu police placed steel barricades at the intersection of the service lane and the bridge to prevent accidents due to halting of share autos there. Nevertheless, accidents occur at night due to poor street lights on the service lane below the flyover.
“Steps will be taken to prevent share autorickshaws from halting at the intersection,” said a State Highways official.