COIMBATORE: The highways department is awaiting the nod for beginning the construction of a proposed flyover on the Mettupalayam (MTP) Road at Saibaba Colony in Coimbatore city.
The commencement of the works is delayed as the district collector has instructed the highways department to go ahead with the works only after the road safety committee submits its report. The authorities are cautious as they don’t want to repeat the same mistakes committed during the construction of GN Mills, Kavundampalayam and Periyanaickenpalayam flyover projects.
The Saibaba Kovil Junction, which is one of the arterial junctions in the city, connects the NSR Road in the West and Sivananda Colony Road in the East with the MTP Road. The project aims to ease the congestion on the Mettupalayam Road which is a stretch of the Nagapatinam-Coimbatore-Gundlupete National Highway 181.
The presence of two traffic signals at the junction in close proximity, just 160 metres apart, also worsened the traffic snarls. Several motorists expressed their displeasure and urged the officials to take necessary action to reduce the congestion at the junction. After TNIE reported on the agony of the motorists, the officials removed both signals and implemented the ‘U-turn’ system last year.
As a durable solution, the highways department floated a tender in August 2023 and was all set to construct a flyover on the junction in December, covering both signals.
An official from the National Highways wing of the State Highways Department told TNIE, “We are ready to begin the work as the tender has been finalised. Once the district collector gives us the nod to go ahead, we will start the flyover project at Saibaba Colony. The collector has asked the road safety committee to submit a report regarding the project. Once we receive the report, we shall plan the project and begin the works accordingly.”
The district collector has formed a five-member road safety committee that will inspect the place, review and submit a report regarding alternate routes and other arrangements for the Saibaba Colony flyover project, said Divisional Engineer of the State Highways Department (Road Safety) G Manuneethi.
The scrutiny has been necessitated in view of the adverse public response to the construction of the Kavundampalayam, GN Mills and Eriyanaickenpalayam flyovers on the MTP Road, he added.
“People suffered a lot during the construction of the three flyovers on the MTP Road by the highways department in the past. So, the collector was particular this time with the Saibaba colony flyover and instructed the highways department to not repeat the same mistake. This time, the highways department will be instructed to construct the service roads and load-bearing drains on both sides first, leaving about 12 m of road in the centre for the pillar works and then start the flyover project,” he added.
Manuneethi revealed that the 1.2-km-long flyover, which begins near the Alagesan Road signal and ends near the MTP Road Bus Terminus, will have four lanes and will be constructed at a cost of `46.62 crore. With the width of the road varying from 23 to 28 m, parking on the MTP Road will be prohibited once the flyover works begin. Also, a lot of encroachments need to be removed. An inspection will be conducted and the final report will be submitted to the collector.