TAMIL NADU

Traffic chaos reigns supreme at Padi junction

A traffic snarl at the Padi junction in Chennai. - Photo : S. Thanthoni

A traffic snarl at the Padi junction in Chennai. - Photo : S. Thanthoni  

A traffic snarl at the Padi junction in Chennai. - Photo : S. Thanthoni

CHENNAI Dec. 7. Motorists taking the Inner Ring Road here start their day an hour before others. Reason: To avoid traffic snarls at the Padi junction.

Throughout the day, the junction, where vehicles converge from Padi, Red Hills, Villivakkam and Anna Nagar, is choked with traffic. Vehicles from Red Hills get lined up one behind the other waiting the green signal.

The IRR serves as an important link between the northern suburbs and industrial areas such as Avadi, Ambattur and Manali. Joseph, an employee of a private company at Guindy, says, "This road is one of the worst-affected in the city and it is a nightmare riding this road everyday with heavy vehicles eating into a large portion of the road.''

The road was laid to facilitate movement of vehicles between GST Road and GNT Road and ease congestion on arterial roads, including Anna Salai. But with the opening of the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus at Koyambedu, traffic has increased on IRR.

The lane for slow moving vehicles between Retteri and Padi is encroached upon by heavy vehicles, forcing other road-users to jostle with another for available road space.

A Senthil Nagar resident, S.Vimala, says: "Even the basic rules are violated during peak hours and vehicles are stranded for about 3 km till Retteri. Heavy vehicles jump lanes to avoid the long wait at the junction."

Many motorists are at the risk of injuring themselves. Even ambulances get caught in the congestion.

Commuters waiting at the Lucas bus stop are unable to board MTC buses, as drivers proceed without halting to avoid getting trapped at the signal.

Negotiating the Padi railway crossing at the IRR and Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road intersection is another ordeal.

V.Chittibabu, a Kolathur resident, says, "During peak hours, confusion reigns supreme when the signal turns green. Motorists waiting for a long time try to get past the junction, not bothering about vehicles coming from other directions."

The presence of a police constable has not improved the situation.

Rise in accidents

According to the traffic police, accidents at the Padi signal increased from 3 in 2002 to 9 in 2003.

Residents of Retteri complain that traffic on their stretch has been ignored, while the police regulate traffic from the other three roads frequently. A Red Hills resident, M.Jonathan, says the stretch has been sidelined despite the fact that vehicles from Red Hills suffer traffic bottlenecks frequently. The police admit that traffic snarls on the other roads have a cascading effect.

Motorists suggest that the pending road work at Kallikuppam leading to Ambattur be taken up immediately to ease congestion on IRR. A flyover at the Padi junction is the only solution to ensure smooth traffic flow.

G.U.G. Sastry, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), says additional personnel have been deployed to regulate traffic and Citizens for Safe Roads volunteers are assisting them during peak hours.

Highways Department officials say there is a proposal to construct a flyover.

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