Vathalmalai roads prove risky without adequate retaining walls

Officials in the Dharmapuri Block Development office were not reachable when TNIE attempted to contact them.
The roads to Vathalmalai have 23 hairpin bends and in most areas retaining walls have been built to ensure safety.
The roads to Vathalmalai have 23 hairpin bends and in most areas retaining walls have been built to ensure safety.(Photo | Express)

DHARMAPURI: The hill roads leading to hill hamlet Vathalmalai are a threat to motorists as they lack retaining walls in a few areas even as the number of vehicles to this emerging tourist destination is increasing. Residents urged the Dharmapuri district administration to set up retaining walls to ensure safe, unhindered passage, especially during rains.

The roads to Vathalmalai have 23 hairpin bends and in most areas retaining walls have been built to ensure safety. However, there are several areas without retaining walls and during rains, the water washes away the many layers of soil and even causes boulders to roll onto the roads.

Speaking to TNIE, S Kaliappan from Palsilambu, said, "Ever since bus services commenced here two years ago, tourism activities in our area have increased. This has boosted the rural economy and the livelihood of the people. Further, the government is taking steps to improve tourist infrastructure. However, the roads leading to the hamlet are unsecured because of the lack of retaining walls. Mud is washed down by rain and loose boulders roll onto the road. People and vehicles passing by during or after a rain are at risk. We urge the administration to improve  the roads."

Another resident, R Kumaresan from Ondriyankadu said, "During rains, the soil is washed onto the roads and two-wheelers often find it difficult to descend the mountain. Boulders are seen rolling onto the road at times. We push away the rocks to the roadside to ensure vehicle movements are not hindered. In some places, the retaining walls are damaged and at many turns they are absent. So for  the safety of tourists, the retaining wall must be built or strengthened."

Officials in the Dharmapuri Block Development office were not reachable when TNIE attempted to contact them.

Vathalmalai is located 25 kilometres from Dharmapuri town.

The roads to Vathalmalai have 23 hairpin bends and in most areas retaining walls have been built to ensure safety.
Vathalmalai residents appeal to Strengthen ghat road wall in Tamil Nadu

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