Chennai - Bengaluru NH: Troubles that stretch up to 98 km in Tamil Nadu
For motorists, Maduravoyal - Walajahpet stretch of Bengaluru bypass that has 46 black spots, is a nightmare; 79 people have been killed on the road since January 2019
CHENNAI: Five years and counting, the 98-km Maduravoyal - Walajahpet section of Chennai - Bengaluru NH is a nightmare for motorists. The section witnessed 786 accidents between January 2019 and September this year in which 79 persons were killed, 209 grievously injured and 552 suffered minor injuries, reveal official data.
The issues are plenty - massive pits and potholes, sudden shrinking of width, frequent changing of lanes by commuters all of a sudden, incomplete works of stormwater drains, lack of proper signage and absence of illumination.
The delay in completing the six-laning of NH between Sriperumbudur and Walajapet is adding to the woes of the commuters in both directions. A 70-km stretch on the road is being widened into six-lane at a cost of `1187.62 crore and its works commenced by the end of 2018.
Incidentally, the 98 km NH from Maduravoyal to Walajahpet has 46 black spots, revealed the data obtained by TNIE from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) through RTI.
As per the Union government’s guidelines, a road section of about 500 metres in which either five accidents involving fatalities/grievous injuries or 10 fatalities occurred during the last three calendar years is notified as a black spot.
Motorists from Chennai towards Vellore and Krishnagiri have to pass through an accident-prone zone every 2 km on the stretch between Maduravoyal and Walajahpet.
“There are multiple unsafe bends without proper sign boards between Sriperumbudur and Walajapet. I had a narrow escape from plunging into a pit dug for the widening work. The road width suddenly reduces from three-lane to single lane due to the construction of bridges at Palur, Karaipettai and a few other places,” rued S Aravind Kumar of Thiruvalam, a commuter.
Motorists falling into the pits dug for widening works is becoming a frequent affair. During the Deepavali holidays, the stretch from Sriperumbudur to Baluchetty junction witnessed huge congestion, added Aravind Kumar.
The Maduravoyal - Sriperumbudur section of NH was one of the busiest roads in the country. As of 2019, the section carries 1.25 lakh vehicles a day. There are nine spot junctions between Maduravoyal and Sriperumbudur - Parvatharajapuram, Poonamallee - Walajapet, Kings Engineering College, Irunkattukottai, Pennalur, PH Road - Vembuli Amman Koil, Nazarathpet, Thandalam and Sriperumbudur bypass.
“To rectify the nine black spots, an elevated corridor has been proposed between Maduravoyal and Sriperumbudur,” said MS Chaithanya, Project Director, Kancheepuram NHAI in his reply. Sources said the proposed 28 km elevated road is an extension of the Bengaluru - Chennai express highway.
Similarly, to prevent accidents at 35 black spots between Sriperumbudur and Walajah, permanent measures such as the construction of vehicular underpasses, bridges and widening of the road are being taken up, said NHAI officials.
An NHAI official said, “The works were delayed for want of gravel, soil and other materials. The issue in getting approval from the State government is being sorted out.”
Citing poor maintenance of the road, in December 2020, the Madras High Court slashed 50 % toll fee at Sriperumbudur and Walajahpet toll plazas. The NHAI also exempted two toll plazas from increasing the user fee annually in 2020 and 2021.