NHAI plans vehicular underpass at entry point to city on Chennai-Tiruchi Highway

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Vehicles waiting on Tiruchi-Chennai Highway.

Vehicles waiting on Tiruchi-Chennai Highway. , Photo Credit: M.MOORTHY

The National Highways Authority of India (NHA) is drawing up a proposal to provide a vehicular underpass (VUP) at the entry point to the city from the Chennai-Tiruchi-Tuticorin National Highway near the No.1 Tollgate to ease the traffic congestion at the intersection.

The plan will entail the construction of a road over bridge (ROB) near Maruthi Nagar for the through-traffic to go over. The existing carriageways will cater to vehicles exiting the highway towards the city and those entering the highway from here.

Confirming the development, sources in the NHAI indicated that the road overbridge would have six lanes and is estimated to cost ₹ 45 crore approximately. However, the exact estimate may vary upon finalization of the plan.

“Given the traffic conflict at the intersection, a VUP is necessary here. The proposal is currently under scrutiny and it will soon be forwarded to the NHAI headquarters for approval,” the sources said.

The project, once sanctioned would be completed within two years from the date of commencement of work. Indications are that the work could start as early as February.

Given the heavy traffic that the NH caters to, providing proper traffic diversions, to facilitate the construction of the ROB, would be a key issue. Officials are now weighing the options and the diversion plan would be finalized in consultation with the district administration, after which the proposal is expected to be taken forward.

The intersection witnesses heavy traffic round-the-clock and is situated on a curve. Although an automatic traffic signal has been installed at the intersection, police have also placed temporary barricades to force vehicles to slow down and prevent accidents.

Commuters and road safety activists have largely welcomed the move. “It is a highly dangerous intersection as vehicles from different directions converge at this spot and accidents are frequent here. Construction of a ROB will greatly help improve road safety at the intersection,” said N.Saravanan, a road safety activist.

Activists have also been calling for the construction of VUP at Sanjeevi Nagar intersection, a few km further down the highway towards Ariyamangalam. A plan was mooted some years ago for construction of a vehicular underpass at the junction. It’s time the NHAI took up the proposal, in the wake of rising traffic volume and in the interest of city development, they said.

The intersection, which also has an automatic traffic signal, has turned an accident-prone spot. Heavy traffic congestion is witnessed at the intersection round the clock as vehicles entering the city via the Odathurai Road from Chennai side have to take a U-turn here. Similarly, a large number of commuters from Sanjeevi Nagar also have to cross over to join the highway towards Ariyamangalam.

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