Public resentment is growing over delay in widening the Tiruchi-Thindukarai section of Tiruchi-Karur highway as accidents are becoming all the more frequent on the 11-km stretch.
In yet another accident, which could have potentially turned disastrous, two lorries collided on the narrow two-lane road between Kambarasampettai and Mutharasanallur in the early hours of Saturday. One of the trucks rammed the parapet along the railway track and fell on its side. Fortunately, the vehicle did not roll over to the railway line or hit the poles of the overhead power line above the track. Drivers of both the vehicles were injured. On Friday, a motorcyclist was reported injured after a car hit his vehicle.
“Accidents occur almost every other day on this stretch. Despite our long struggle, the proposal to widen the road is yet to see the light of the day,” regrets P. Ayyarappan, a resident of Allur. A group of residents who have been campaigning for widening the road are even running a WhatsApp group to provide updates on accidents on the stretch over the past few years.
While the Tiruchi-Karur section has been widened by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) beyond Thindukarai near Mukkombu on the outskirts of the city, the stretch between Thindukarai and Tiruchi remains an accident-prone stretch. Since a bypass was to be laid between Panchapur on Tiruchi-Madurai highway and the Tiruchi-Karur highway by the NHAI, the remaining stretch of the road was left with the State Highways department.
“As the bypass road project is also in the limbo, heavy vehicles continue to ply on this stretch. At least, if the bypass road was completed early, the volume of heavy vehicles will come down on this stretch,” Mr. Ayyarappan said.
The stretch running along the banks of the Cauvery on the one side and the railway line on the other has several acute and dangerous curves. In the absence of streetlights, motorists have to endure a risky drive at nights. Scores of residential colonies have come up on this stretch and a large number of commuters have to traverse this stretch every day.
The Highways department had initially drawn up a plan to strengthen the road at an estimate of ₹30 crore. However, the plan was revised after Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami recently visited Mukkombu last year to inspect the damage to the regulator across Kollidam rver when he had apparently had instructed the Highways department to widen the road and execute the plan expeditiously.
Subsequently, a proposal envisaging the widening and strengthening of the Tiruchi-Thindukarai stretch at an estimated cost of ₹ 73 crore was forwarded to the government by the Highways Department last year. The Department had proposed to widen the road at a cost of ₹58 crore and also build a new bridge across the Kudamuritti river at a cost of ₹15 crore. Sources in the department said efforts were being made to get the project sanctioned soon.
“We are disappointed that the project is yet to be sanctioned despite the intervention of the Chief Minister. We are now planning to approach the court,” said Mr. Ayyarappan.