Metro Rail work causes traffic congestion on Old Mahabalipuram Road

3 months ago 55
Vehicles move at a snail’s pace on the Rajiv Gandhi Salai near Thiruvanmiyur MRTS Station in front of Tidel Park.

Vehicles move at a snail’s pace on the Rajiv Gandhi Salai near Thiruvanmiyur MRTS Station in front of Tidel Park. | Photo Credit: M. KARUNAKARAN

Vehicular traffic on Rajiv Gandhi Salai has been badly affected by the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd.’s work to construct an elevated corridor.

The busy four-lane expressway that carries over 1.50 lakh vehicles a day has been reduced to two-way on both sides because of the work along the median. With road space shrinking, motorists spending longer hours on the road moving through the barricaded stretches and thick dust.

With service lanes closed and barricades put up at several stretches, driving on the road has become a nightmare, said residents and commuters.

Chennai Metro Rail’s Phase 2 coverage extends to 118.9 km and the Madhavaram to SIPCOT corridor runs through OMR up to SIPCOT in Siruseri. Between Madhavaram and Taramani, the mass rapid system is underground and then an elevated corridor up to Siruseri.

“It takes 10 minutes to cover 1 km even in the afternoon. There is no space on the road. I require 20 minutes to reach Semmanchery from Metukkuppam in the morning to go to school. But in the return direction, the traffic is so much that it takes me 45 minutes,” said Vikram, a school van driver. 

R. Anandan of OMR Lorry Owners’ Association said that with kerb stones that divide the main carriageway from the service lanes being removed on several stretches, traffic jams have become common. “People visiting the commercial establishments and shops on the sides usually park their vehicles on the service lanes where driving in both directions is permitted. However, with the service lanes becoming part of the main carriageway at some stretches, traffic at the extremes has gone haywire,” he said. 

Many bottlenecks

Sekar, a share autorickshaw driver, said a few days ago traffic at the Kannagi Nagar signal was very bad. “There were traffic snarls and everybody got stuck in the gridlock in the morning and evening. Then the traffic police stepped in and some order was restored. Even now, those taking a U-turn at the signal to take the service lane on the opposite side have to do so by driving on the wrong side for a short distance. A portion of the service lane on the side that carries traffic towards Adyar has been cordoned off,” he said.

Like on other roads where the Metro Rail work is on, pedestrians have less space. “With the medians being barricaded, pedestrians, who used to cross the road at designated spots, now have to walk some distance before finding an opening on the median. At Tidel Park signal, people walk along the carriageway against the traffic,” said Kannan Bhakta, a resident of Thoraipakkam. 

CMRL officials said they were taking steps to ease the congestion. “We are in discussion with traffic police and have been assessing the situation. A study has been done and some recommendations made. We understand the issue and are working to smoothen the traffic flow soon. We will ensure it becomes easier for commuters to travel on the road,” an official said. 

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