Chennai-Tiruchy NH turns death trap,  2,076 killed in accidents in four years 

The road, originally designed to handle 35,000 passenger car units (PCUs), now handles more than 1.4 lakh PCUs on an average every day. 

Published: 28th November 2022 04:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2022 04:34 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

CHENNAI: At least 2,076 people died and more than 7,000 were injured in road accidents in about four years (January 2018 to June 2022) on the 334-km-long Chennai-Tiruchy National Highway-45, show police records. Sources said it could be due to a lack of enough service roads and possible design faults.
The four-lane highway, which became operational in 2000, is the only gateway to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The road, originally designed to handle 35,000 passenger car units (PCUs), now handles more than 1.4 lakh PCUs on average every day. 

With no proper approach road or vehicular underpass for light vehicles, the 121-km section of the road from Tambaram to Ulundurpet has become a death trap for motorists with more than 50% fatalities and injuries being recorded on that stretch, show data obtained by The New Indian Express from police department through RTI. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the state’s efforts to mark accident-prone locations as black spots have failed to bring down the accident rate as the road was designed without considering traffic movement from villages abutting the road, say locals.  

“The villages and panchayats between Tambaram and Tiruchy have not been provided with service and approach roads. Until 2014, the Ulundurpet junction recorded one fatal accident every 10 days. Now bridges have been built in a few places. More than 20,000 people were affected because of the accidents,” said S Rathinavelu, a resident of Vikkiravandi.

Pits and potholes on the toll road continue to pose threat

Though a toll is being collected to use the stretch, bypasses have not been planned in tandem with the growing vehicular traffic. As per NHAI data, there are 51 black spots between Perungalathur bus stop and TDM Aryas Junction near Salavathy (Villupuram district).

Though negligence of drivers, drunken driving, riding without helmets and other human errors contribute to the accidents, pits and potholes on the toll road continue to pose threat to motorists. “Lack of signage boards and potholes show the shoddy maintenance of the NH. Two-wheelers often skid due to soil accumulating on service lanes. The menace of cattle roaming on the carriageway continues unabated,” said R Siddharth, a regular commuter.

As per official documents, the 98-km Tambaram-Tindivanam section of the NH was developed using public funds. Though the toll plazas located at Athur and Paranur have collected twice the amount they had spent for road construction, the NHAI has refused to cut the toll fee by 60% in accordance with the NH Fee Rules of 2008.

In February 2018, union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari announced the construction of a six-lane elevated corridor from Tambaram to Chengalpattu and eight-laning of the Chengalpattu to Tindivanam stretch. But the work is yet to commence even after four years.

NHAI sources said as part of the elimination of more than 30 black spots between Tambaram and Chengalpattu, a 28-km elevated corridor has been planned. “The DPR is ready. Work will commence next year,” an official said.

Similarly, a feasibility study is being conducted for an expressway between Tambaram and Tiruchy, added the official.

A lookback
It may be recalled that in a letter to DMK MP P Wilson, Gadkari had said user fee for toll plazas set up on highways using public funds will be slashed by 60%

Tindivanam to Ulundurpet black spot elimination work 

  • Vehicular underpasses being built at Ellis Chathiram, Arasur crossing, Kootteripattu junction and Padhur bus stop
  • Service road being laid for Thirumathur
  • VUP’s have been proposed at five places --- Jakkampet bus stop, Mundiyambakkam, Annamalai Hotel, Pappanapattu bus stop and Vikkiravandi road junction


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