CHENNAI : It isn’t just the pothole-rich state of Velachery High Road that has made motorists using the stretch extra vigilant. That credit is due to wooden reapers with rusted nails, originally to keep the filled in medians in place— which have since fallen off, and are lying dangerously on the road. Though the cement work on the medians was completed almost a week ago, the onset of the rains and constant heavy traffic have unsettled the wooden reapers into falling off. Three puncture shops along the way admitted that they were getting at least 15-20 more punctures since the rains began — most of which are caused by nails. “I don’t know if they are the same nails, but I did have one Scorpio come in with a big piece of wood nailed to the side of the tyre,” said Selvam, who runs one of the puncture shops.
The reapers are nailed into the sides of the median to keep it in shape, and removed once it is set. However, that portion of the work is yet to be completed by the civic body. “Sometimes people avoid them while riding, but in places where the potholes are very bad and people are concentrating on getting past it, they sometimes run over these nails,” said Muthu, who works in Anjanenjam Cool Bar, on Velachery Main Road. He said that while walking across the street to deliver tea to the shops opposite, he would sometimes kick at the reapers like he was “playing football with spikes”. But his grim sense of humour aside, Muthu probably saved a few vehicles from getting flat as he often deposited these barbed bats near the pavement.
Between the bad roads and the reapers, traffic has increased inexorably, especially on weekends. “Even when Phoenix Market City had huge lines of cars outside it used to take only 20 minutes to get from Guindy to Velachery, but now it doesn’t take anything less than 45 minutes,” complained Ramya Sridharan, an employee of a top-rung IT company near Siruseri. This is a common complaint these days, as the rain has battered the road so much that a normal flow of traffic is near-impossible.
“Even for people who live 10 minutes away from the mall, getting there can take close to an hour because of the way traffic logjams due to the condition of the roads,” said Archana T, who wasted quite a bit of time last Sunday.
Though pedestrians are not directly at risk, there is a strong likelihood that if they were to step on a nail rusted by incessant rain and puddles of water, there would be a risk of contracting tetanus, or other related conditions.