If the recent rain made driving on roads from bad to worse, the Chennai- Bengaluru highway has once again become a nightmare. “Have you driven down from Chennai to Kancheepuram recently? The large potholes have only made the experience a harrowing one. Expansion work is moving at snail’s pace and the many diversions only make driving a nightmare, especially at night,” said S. Selvaraj, a multi-axle vehicle driver.
“There is some respite in traffic only for a couple of hours in the afternoon and if there is a pile up, motorists are done for. The condition of the road, which is a gateway to Chennai, is in a pitiable state and there has been no improvement for over a year now. Many projects in the city have been completed but this one remains hung, nobody knows why,” said L. Sahana, who travels frequently to Bengaluru.
Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said potholes were being filled whenever there was some respite in the rain. “We are waiting for the rain to stop so that we can complete the repairs. The widening work would soon be completed,” the official said.
In short supply
However, other sources associated with the project said the work remained incomplete due to the need for gravel and earth. “We require 1.2 lakh cubic metre for this project and we are unable to construct even structures like flyovers due to this. Though contractors have complained to the Central Government and the Union Minister, who has in-turn spoken to the State Government, we are not getting borrow permissions,” said a source, who wanted to remain unnamed. Meanwhile, the NHAI is also taking steps to repair potholes on Chennai’s elevated bypass, northern stretch of Inner Ring Road and Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti Road. “We have fixed potholes and by this weekend, when we have a dry patch, we will re-lay the damaged stretches using paver machines. As far as Manali Oil Ring Road is concerned, about one km of the wearing coat has been damaged. These works have all been carried out by the respective contractors as part of maintenance,” he said. A total of ₹26 lakh has been sanctioned for repairs to the stretch of Maduravoyal-Koyambedu on the Poonamallee High Road.