OMR residents demand traffic-free roads

It takes M. Sekar over an hour-and-a-half to cross the 10-km stretch from Tidel Park to Sholinganallur junction during peak hours on Rajiv Gandhi Salai.

“When I came to Raju Nagar in 1987, I had to get off the tar road to make way for buses, now it takes me 10 minutes to just cross the road. The growth in the volume of traffic is unimaginable. I am sure this road carries more traffic than even Mount Road,” said this long-time resident of Rajiv Gandhi Salai. The road carries around 1.50 lakh vehicles daily.

With 15 signals and five toll plazas, waiting time combined with travel time makes driving on the road a nightmarish experience. In the 20-km stretch from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri, the 15 signals only mean vehicles wait for a minimum of 45 minutes just to cross signals and during peak hours, this easily gets extended.

“It is very common for someone to spend two hours on the road driving down from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri. It takes me an hour and 20 minutes to reach Taramani from Navalur and I have to cross two toll plazas. I came to OMR since property rates were lesser compared to the rest of the city and it was closer to my work spot. But now the daily drive tires me out,” said V. Vaithiswaran, a surgeon at a hospital in Taramani.

Grid-road connectivity

Peak hours on the road, which is popularly known as OMR, stretch from 9 a.m. to beyond noon and from 5.45 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fed up with wasting time at junctions and toll plazas, residents of Rajiv Gandhi Salai are demanding that a solution be found for the problem. The arterial road does not have any grid-road connectivity, meaning motorists cannot take any alternative route. “At least three roads proposed in the CMDA’s masterplan are yet to see the light of the day,” explained a former Highways Department official.

Proposals for flyovers at five junctions, cleared by the State government several years ago, are yet be constructed and a promised elevated road from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri remains on paper.

“For now, better traffic management at junctions and service lanes would help,” explained a former planner. Sources in the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company said the proposal for the elevated road was under consideration of the State government.

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