Will feeder roads withstand heavy traffic?

The new approach road to the Koyambedu bus terminal being laid hastily on Wednesday. - Photo: K. Pichumani

The new approach road to the Koyambedu bus terminal being laid hastily on Wednesday. - Photo: K. Pichumani  

The new approach road to the Koyambedu bus terminal being laid hastily on Wednesday. - Photo: K. Pichumani

CHENNAI NOV. 13. Traffic gridlock could follow the proposed opening of the new bus terminal at Koyambedu, as most approach roads are heavily encroached upon, and the Transport Corporation drivers have not undertaken any trial run to get used to the routing arrangements.

The terminal is to be opened on Monday, and the authorities are working overtime and preparing the roads near the terminus to meet the deadline, but it is doubtful if the feeder roads would be able to withstand additional pressure of a staggering 2,500 bus trips everyday.

"Even on normal day there is hardly any space for vehicles to move on Kaliamman Koil Road which is very narrow with encroachments leading to frequent snarls. Now with more buses being diverted it is bound to be chaotic", a resident of the area pointed out.

Once the Koyambedu terminal becomes operational, police would divert the buses through K.K. Nagar Kaliamman Koil road (Nesapakkam). However, a drive through this area on Wednesday revealed that the fears of the local residents and vehicle owners were well founded. "There is no space even to move a bus to a corner in case of a breakdown. At some points there is space only for one bus to move. The authorities should study these `problem zones' before introducing the new system" a bus driver said.

Though the GO (Ms. No.208) on the shifting of the buses to the new terminal states that Kaliamman Koil Road should be expanded after acquiring necessary land from the CMDA. However, even the encroachments have not been removed on this stretch and with no signs of any activity for improving the road conditions the situation is bound to be chaotic with the movement of buses.

The diversion on Kaliamman Koil Road is bound to have an impact on the movement of vehicles on the already heavily congested Arcot Road at Virugambakkam. Encroachments and pavement hawkers in the market area have made it a nightmare in terms of traffic management. Police presence is also thin, to the point of being non-existent.

The GO states that buses from southern districts will enter the Koyambedu moffusil bus terminus through Tambaram and Kathipara junction. Buses from western districts will reach the terminus through EVR Salai and Koyambedu Commercial Complex Road to avoid congestion at the `high vehicle density zone' of EVR Salai and 100 Feet Road Junction. Buses will be diverted through Kaliamman Koil Street by improving the road after land acquisition.

All State Express buses, point-to-point buses and omni buses will be allowed to use only Tambaram NH by-pass road, connecting Maduravoyal and Irumbuliyur. Steps will be taken to exempt state transport buses from payment of toll fee for using the Tambaram NH by pass.

A disturbing factor of the entire exercise is that roads, which have been newly re-laid in the area, are now filled with potholes raising doubts on the quality of material being used and the certification procedure adopted. "The department responsible for checking the roads should be held accountable if roads were not properly relaid", residents in the area demanded.

The image of the city administration, which took a back seat after its poor response to the monsoon showers, might suffer a further setback if a proper study is not conducted and drivers given experimental runs, to get familiar with a new system.

Modern reflective signboards in Tamil and English, giving information about the routing arrangement, and various facilities could also help in the process. Once the terminal comes up, local encroachments are also expected to come up around it, and several organisations have planted their flags to "stake a claim" to public space.

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