Poorly maintained State Highways passing through Thoothukudi affects traffic

Thoothukudi Corporation maintains over 5,700 road stretches, each one of which is over 300 metres long.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

THOOTHUKUDI:  Thoothukudi corporation has proposed to take over 74-km-long state highways passing through the corporation wards, stating that the arterial roads being poorly maintained by the state highways departments affect road traffic. The corporation maintains over 5,700 road stretches, each one of which is over 300 metres long.

According to sources, the Rameswaram Road, Old Harbour-Kollam Road (Palayamkottai Road), George Road, Tiruchendur Road, Meelavittan Road, Ettayapuram Road, Sankaraperi - Pandarampatti Road and Jothinagar road, which are collectively 74 km longs, are the arterial roads within the Thoothukudi corporation limits. "These roads spread across 60 wards, which have a population of four lakh people and a floating population of at least one lakh. As there are multiple industries and shipping agencies in the area, the city roads often witness hectic traffic during peak hours," sources said.  

These arterial roads are often damaged due to waterlogging during rainy seasons or when they're dug up setting up essential services, including water pipelines, drainage, and telephone cables. However, these roads are not restored until the state highways department intervenes, which may take up several months.

A top official said the corporation cannot carry out any work on these stretches other than patchwork after receiving approval from officials concerned. At present, only the state highways department has the authority to relay the roads, the official added.

When the arterial road stretches were submerged in water during the heavy rains of 2020, the Thoothukudi corporation had allotted `22 crore only to evacuate waters using electric and oil motors, as there were no proper drainage lines on the state highways intersecting the city roads, said another official.

Michael Anto, a social activist who had petitioned several times to rectify the Trespuram-Thalamuthunagar main road, told TNIE that it is a state highway that often sees fatal accidents. "The SH department has not rectified the road alignment till date. Had the road been under the purview of the corporation, the issues would have been addressed on time," he added.

Some officials said that the state highways department office itself is located on encroached land that is near the Ettayapuram road, a major state highway in the city, causing huge traffic. However, no action has been taken against it, the officials added.

Thoothukudi Corporation Mayor NP Jegan Periyasamy told TNIE that the corporation has been spending several lakhs for lights, electricity bills, sweeping charges, and constructing drainage lines, in order to maintain these road stretches that do not belong to the civic body.

"However, the corporation does not have the authority to widen, reconstruct, or align these roads so as to accommodate the present-day traffic. We have moved a petition to Minister for Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply KN Nehru, to transfer the authority over these road stretches to the corporation, so that more developmental works can be carried out," he added.

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