Preliminary feasibility tests around the Kaliamman Koil Street-Arcot Road junction have begun, with the Chennai Corporation trying to identify the best location for a new flyover, proposed to ease traffic congestion along the busy thoroughfare.
According to sources in the civic body, a private consultant has been recruited to conduct soil tests and submit a report. “We have begun the initial assessment; we believe this flyover is essential to cut down traffic snarls on Arcot Road, from where a large number of vehicles ply towards Koyambedu. It will, however, take a month at least to finalise plans,” said an official from the COC’s bridges department.
Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraiswamy announced while presenting the annual Corporation budget that feasibility studies would be conducted in four areas — Chamiers Road, Madhya Kailash and Valluvar Kottam and Arcot Road.
“The flyovers are being planned based on feedback from the traffic police, as well as our own assessment,” the official said.
News of the proposed flyover on Arcot Road brings joy to commuters and traffic policemen alike. Nizam Mohemmed, who works at a hardware store on Kaliamman Koil Street, heartily welcomes the move.
“We get stuck at the junction, with the road being too narrow to handle so much traffic. If a flyover is built here, then the authorities will also take steps to widen the road and remove illegal construction. Once vehicles headed towards Koyambedu market or CMBT get on the flyover, our road will become peaceful,” he hopes. “It will also be easier for us to transport our goods on fish carts.”
A policeman from the Pondy Bazaar traffic investigation unit, which is responsible for accident and regulation issues on Arcot Road, admits that the move is long-pending. “I do not know where they can build a flyover around that junction, but it will definitely reverse the ‘bottleneck’ situation we are dealing with now. A lot of vehicles plying from Porur towards Koyambedu, as well as those coming from Kodambakkam choose this route.
However, Kaliamman Koil Street is very narrow where it meets Arcot Road, hardly 20 feet across,” explains the officer. “It is only after half a kilometre or so that the road broadens out. During rush hour, the narrow stretch becomes a bottleneck with slow-moving traffic. Minor accidents and skirmishes are reported from the area every day.”
Residents of areas like Chinmaya Nagar, Natesan Nagar and Virugambakkam are more concerned about the traffic congestion at the other end of Kaliamman Koil Street, where it plunges into the traffic chaos of the CMBT.
“The traffic jams at this junction go on beyond midnight due to private buses from one side and government buses from the Koyambedu terminus on the other side clogging the road. We were promised a flyover last year, but it does not appear like they will construct it any time soon. Why can’t they complete one project before starting the next?” says Raman (name changed), a government employee and an irate resident of Chinmaya Nagar.
A Highways Department official gruffly said that the flyover near Koyambedu would be constructed in June.