Wednesday, April 25, 2018

S. Ganesan, THE HINDU  TIRUCHI, APRIL 25, 2018 


Slow movement of traffic is a regular feature on the service road between G. Corner and TVS Tollgate in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

But the residents of Golden Rock want permanent solution to access issue; say police move will add to the chaotic traffic conditions


With the City police toying with the idea of making the service road between G.Corner and TVS Tollgate ‘one-way’, in an attempt to prevent accidents, residents of the area have sought a permanent solution towards restoration of direct access to Golden Rock from Tiruchi-Chennai national highway.

On Monday, the city police issued a press note declaring that the stretch would be made one-way from Tuesday only to withdraw it within a few hours saying that the move has been postponed. The move was apparently intended as a measure to prevent accidents on the service road, which is currently catering to traffic on both directions.

The police had planned to bar motorists going via the service road from TVS Tollgate to Golden Rock /Ponmalaipatti and divert vehicles via Subramaniapuram and Jail Corner on Pudukottai Highway to reach the Ponmalaipatti Road.

This is not the first time that such as move is being contemplated. A few years ago, a similar move was withdrawn after opposition from sections of local residents. However, the latest abortive attempt has brought to fore the issue that has been festering ever since the Tiruchi-Chennai-Madurai National Highway was widened to a four-lane one by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) some years back.

Ever since the four-lane project was executed, residents of Golden Rock and employees of the Golden Rock Railway Workshop, have been seeking construction of an underpass beneath the road overbridge on the highway at G.Corner as they had been denied them direct access from the highway and forced to take a detour.

The railway workshop has about 5,000 employees. Besides the residential quarters of railway employees, a large number of people live in Golden Rock area. The Railway Divisional Hospital is also located there and there are two railway schools and three private schools. The Railways has also been contending that the right of way to Goldern Rock at G.Corner, which was available for decades, should be restored. Negotiations between NHAI and Railways, taken up in 2012, failed to lead to an agreement.

Although NHAI was willing to build the underpass, it sought 3,000 sq mt of railway land and ₹1 crore from the Railways. The railway authorities came forward to provide the land, but the issue of sanction of funds was not addressed.

“It is true that accidents take place frequently on the service road. But declaring the road one-way will not bring about a permanent solution. It will not help ease the congestion around TVS Tollgate. Constructing an underpass is the only permanent solution,” said K.C. Neelamegam, a resident of Golden Rock.

The Jail Corner junction on Pudukottai Highway is also equally accident prone, Mr. Neelamegam, who is also State advisor of Makkal Sakthi Iyakkam, points out. “We are already fighting for installing a traffic signal at the junction. The latest move will only add to the chaotic traffic conditions there,” he added.

“The situation only reflects the poor planning by NHAI, Railways and the police. The authorities should take steps to build at least a minor subway to allow employees and residents to cross over the Chennai highway at G.Corner,” said H. Ghouse Baig, a consumer activist, who has long been lobbying for construction of an underpass.

M.Sekaran, president, Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations and member of the District Road Safety Council, observed that allowing the service road to be used for two-way traffic posed a safety threat to motorists. At least, the town buses should be diverted and the district administration should change the route permits so that it had legal backing, he insisted.

As a permanent solution, he suggested that the NHAI connect the short distance between Golden Rock and TVS Tollgate flyovers with an elevated road obviating the need for an underpass at G.Corner, which is situated between the two bridges.

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