CHENNAI: It is age of darkness for commuters driving along the Tambaram-Chengalpattu Highway at nights. Despite sanctioning of funds for illumination and other road-repair works, the highway continues to look pitch dark after the sunset. Non-functional street lights along the highway have caused numerous accidents, some of which have even proved fatal. Following the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the situation has become more worse, say residents.
“Though vehicles have started moving on the roads, the traffic is still less as a lot of people are working from their homes. So, speeding of vehicles has increased along this stretch. As there are no lights to enable vision, motorists ride into barricades or hit head-on at sharp curves,” said T Thomas, a resident of Tambaram. According to an official data from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the 30-km stretch has 14 ‘black spots’ and nearly 100 fatalities are reported every year. As per the norms of Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, a black spot is a road stretch for 500 metres along which five road accidents, including fatalities and grievous injuries have been reported in the last three years, or 10 fatalities in the last three years.
In 2019, funds to the tune of Rs 9 crore were sanctioned to carry out road alignments and for installation of safety equipment like sign boards, traffic lights and barricades. “At least three accidents occur along the stretch on a daily basis,” said G Ganesh from Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Association. Responding to this concern, an NHAI official said they were sorting out the issue with a private contractor who left work midway.