Chennai scarred by 600 road cuts as projects pile up – Times of India

Chennai News
Several vehicles are forced to move slowly at wall tax road due to civic work

CHENNAI: Civic works are welcome, but not if five different departments descend on the city simultaneously and carry out projects that involve several hundred road cuts, traffic slowdowns and a spike in accidents. As of Thursday, about 600 road locations have been dug up for civic projects across the city, for storm water drains, underground sewerage, underground electricity cables, road expansion and bridge construction and Metro rail project.
Owing to warnings from officials and the threat of penalties due to delays in civic projects, contractors have now doubled up the speed of the project. But south-west monsoon and convection rains have arrived in the city, spiking road safety concerns. On an average, Chennai city, which then included Avadi and Tambaram, witnessed around 300 road accidents every month in 2021. Of which, nearly two-third were minor injury cases. But in the last six months of this year, more than 2,400 accidents — a 15% spike — have been reported.
Clearly city roads have become less motorable and more dangerous than ever. A recent private study suggested that the average peak hour traffic in Chennai city’s arterial roads had dropped from 17 kilometres per hour to 10kmph. And, even ambulances take 5 to 10 minutes more than usual to complete their trips, particularly along routes in the western localities like Porur, Poonamalle and Vadapalani, where CMRL work is underway. Sadly, even after completion of work carriage ways have not been restored to their original condition in some pockets. Sridhar of Mylapore says that for months after road work is over, several stretches have neither been repaired or patched up. “In VC Garden (Ward 124) the work is over, but dug-up portions still lie open.
Canal Bank Road and Justice Sundaram Road (Ward 123) have turned into accident hotspots due to delay in work. Vehicles get stuck on these stretches frequently,” he said. The Greater Chennai Corporation started storm water drain projects at Rs 900 crore two weeks ago in several flood-prone areas, including Adyar, Velachery, T Nagar, Vepery and Egmore. But complaints have already started pouring in about the manner in which the contractors and subcontractors have been carrying out the work. G Sathish, a resident-activist from Perungudi, blames it on absence of inter-departmental meetings ahead of work. In many core areas, corporation contractors have ended up damaging sewage pipes, telephone lines and newly-laid underground electric cables while digging the road for storm water projects. Police say most of the state agencies do not stick to project deadlines as promised and hence police are left with no options other than planning the city traffic diversions better. K P Subramanian, professor (retd.), division of transportation engineering, Anna University, said lack of coordination among the utility departments was the reason for the urban mess.


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