THOOTHUKUDI: The traders in Pudukottai have sought the construction of a bridge across the Uppar Odai in addition to the old one so as to ease vehicle movement into the commercial street. They said an overhead bridge along the Thoothukudi-Tirunelveli NH at Pudukottai would not solve traffic woes.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been constructing an overhead bridge for one kilometer at an estimated cost of Rs 20.69 crore for the past three years. It is expected to be completed by April 2023.
The Kumaragiri village, popularly called as Pudukottai, is located 12 kilometers away from Thoothukudi town on the Thoothukudi-Tirunelveli NH. Moreover, it is surrounded by 30 villages involved in agriculture, mainly
banana cultivation. The Thoothukudi union block office and a sub-registrar office is located in this village. Sahayaraj, an activist, said, “ The buses heading to Tirunelveli can take a cut on the Murugan temple-Chaitram approach road to reach Pudukottai.
While the Tirunelveli-bound vehicles, including the heavy ones, exit at Mangalagiri diversion, vehicles plying to Thoothukudi only have the post office road to exit from Pudukottai. The vehicles to Thoothukudi from Tirunelveli skip Pudukottai due to the absence of an approach road. The post office approach road would serve no purpose for Thoothukudi-bound vehicles.”
Jesdasan Ponraj, a resident said the vehicles plying to Thoothukudi, have to take the highways at Mangalagiri diversion. “If this is the case, the buses from Tirunelveli will skip Pudhukottai citing traffic snarls, which will end up affecting the students in Tirunelveli,” he said.
Villagers from Kootudankadu and surrounding areas also pointed out that they must take a circuitous route to cross the national highways. Pudukottai Anaithu Viyaparigal Munnetra Sangam president Peter said the bridge has only one subway of 7 metre width at the centre of the bridge for entry and exit from the city.
“As the bridge is under construction, traders rely on the 150 year-old narrow bridge on the Uppar stream. to reach the national highways at Silukkanpatti diversion. It is old and cannot carry heavy vehicles such as lorry and trucks. A new bridge should be constructed parallel to the old bridge or by demolishing the old one, so that vehicles can access Pudukottai,” he added. The sangam had also passed a resolution regarding the same.