CHENNAI: The unprecedented rains in the city ha left several stretches of the National Highways connecting Chennai to the rest of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh unmotorable, putting truckers in a fix. While trucker associations allege that the bad roads increase the duration of travel and cause accidents, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) says necessary steps have been taken to repair the affected portions to ease vehicular movement.
R Sugumar, president, Lorry Owners Federation, says that National Highways such as the Chennai Bypass, Chennai-Tada (NH5) and Chennai-Walajah (NH46) have been hit. “The Chennai-Walajah highway is terrible. Rainwater has stripped away the bitumen in many areas. It now takes three and four hours to commute between Chennai and Walajah. Normally it takes hardly two hours,” he claims.
Noting that about 50 ambulances ply on this road every day, ferrying patients from Vellore to Chennai, he said cars also bore the brunt of bad roads. “The road linking Chennai and Tada is equally bad. We don’t get adequate facilities despite paying a hefty toll fee,” he says, questioning why the toll fee is revised annually.
Sugumar added the vital Chennai Bypass between Irumbuliyur and Surapet is also in a miserable condition. The unmotorable highways have increased accidents. This could have been avoided if good quality roads were laid. Kannan, of the Chennai Local Lorry Owners Association, said truckers had many accidents even though they drove slowly over the pothole-ridden portions. “10 accidents are reported every day on the Chennai-Tada highway,” he says, adding that the number of accidents has gone up after the rains.
The regional officer of NHAI, V Chinna Reddy denied the charges that the National Highways in and around Chennai were completely damaged. “There are some damages at a few places due to the heavy rains, and we are working to repair them,” he said.