Chennai-Tiruchy NH turns into death trap, 2,076 dead in accidents in four years – New Indian Express | News Bharat

Express News Service

CHENNAI: At least 2,076 people died and over 7,000 were injured in road accidents in about four years (from January 2018 to June 2022) on the 334-km Chennai-Tiruchy National Highway-45, police records show. Sources say this could be due to lack of enough service roads and possible design flaws.
The four-lane highway, which became operational in 2000, is the only gateway to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. Originally designed to carry 35,000 passenger vehicle units (PCUs), the road now carries over 1.4 lakh PCUs on an average every day.

In the absence of a proper approach road or underpass for light vehicles, the 121 km stretch of road from Tambaram to Ulundurpet has become a death trap for motorists, with more than 50% of deaths and injuries recorded on this stretch, data released by the acquired New Indian Express from the police department through RTI. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the country’s efforts to designate accident-prone locations as black spots have failed to reduce the accident rate as the road was designed without considering traffic from villages bordering the road, locals say.

“Villages and panchayats between Tambaram and Tiruchy did not have service and access roads. Until 2014, the Ulundurpet junction recorded one fatal accident every 10 days. Bridges have now been built in a few places. Over 20,000 people have been affected by the calamities,” said S Rathinavelu, a resident of Vikkiravandi.

Pits and potholes on the toll road continue to pose a threat

Although a toll is collected to use the section, the bypasses were not planned in relation to the increasing vehicular traffic. According to NHAI, there are 51 black spots between Perungalathur bus stand and TDM Aryas junction near Salavathy (Villupuram district).

Although driver negligence, drunk driving, riding without a helmet and other human errors contribute to accidents, potholes and potholes on the toll road still pose a threat to drivers. “Lack of signboards and potholes indicate poor NH maintenance. Two-wheelers often skid due to the accumulation of dirt on the service lanes. The danger of cattle roaming on the carriageway is not diminishing,” said R Siddharth, a regular commuter.

According to official documents, the 98-km stretch of NH Tambaram-Tindivanam was developed with public funds. Even though the toll booths at Athur and Paranur collected double the amount spent on road construction, the NHAI refused to reduce the toll by 60% under the 2008 NH toll rules.

In February 2018, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced the construction of a six-lane elevated corridor from Tambaram to Chengalpattu and an eight-lane stretch from Chengalpattu to Tindivanam. But even after four years, the work still hasn’t started.

NHAI sources said that a 28-km long corridor has been planned between Tambaram and Chengalpattu as part of eliminating more than 30 black spots. “The DPR is ready. The work will start next year,” the official said.

Similarly, a feasibility study is being done for the expressway between Tambaram and Tiruchy, the official added.

Looking back
It may be recalled that in a letter to DMK MP P Wilson, Gadkari had said that user charges for toll booths set up on highways using public funds would be reduced by 60%.

Tindivanam to Ulundurpet black spot removal work

  • Construction of vehicular underpasses at Ellis Chathiram, Arasur Junction, Kootteripattu Junction and Padhur Bus Stand
  • They are laying service road for Thirumathur
  • VUPs have been proposed at five places — Jakkampet Bus Stand, Mundiyambakkam, Annamalai Hotel, Pappanapattu Bus Stand and Vikkiravandi Road Junction

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