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Padi-Tirupati corridor put on fast track, says Baalu

Special Correspondent

Appeals to people to extend cooperation in interest of Tamil Nadu

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Removing bottlenecks: Union Shipping and Surface Transport Minister T.R. Baalu engaging S.K. Puri (right) and Ashok Wasson, Members (Technical), NHAI, in a discussion on traffic congestion and road safety on national highway 205, at the Ambattur Municipality on Friday.

CHENNAI: Development of NH 205, a critical corridor linking Padi in Chennai to Tirupati, has been put on the fast track with Union Transport Minister T. R. Baalu committing the bureaucracy and local bodies to get the entire highway stretch commissioned in two years.

The Minister, who on Friday convened a meeting of officials from various departments and the chairmen of Ambattur, Tiruninravur, Pattabiram, and Avadi municipalities to discuss bottlenecks at the Chennai end of the 145-km highway, also issued instructions to implement short-term solutions within 30 days, extendable to a maximum of 45 days.

Mr. Baalu was categorical on pushing through land acquisition for the project under any circumstances and refusing to compromise on the width of the highway to less than 50 metres from the project specification of 60 metres. “I urge people affected by the project to extend cooperation keeping the larger interests of the State, and even the nation, in mind.”

The short-term measures will primarily focus on addressing road safety concerns over the spate of accidents on NH 205 by broadening the width by 1.5 metres on either side and improving geometrics on 13 curves.

Police Commissioner of Chennai City (Suburban Area) S. R. Jangid and Additional Commissioner of Traffic in Chennai Sunil Kumar informed that the most accident-prone spots included the Korattur junction, Ambattur Estate bus depot, near Dunlop factory, TI Cycles precincts, Avadi Kamarajar statue, Thirumullavoyal and Pattabiram Market.

The long-term plan is to create a four-lane pathway that will be able to accommodate much more than the current 47,000 passenger car units on the Tiruninravur-Padi stretch of the highway. It was also decided to resolve issues concerning the link roadway branching in from NH 4. Funds would be released immediately to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to relocate its towers and other utilities hampering the project.

Transport Commissioner C. P. Singh was directed to immediately hold a meeting with police top brass within a week to discuss traffic improvement measures not only in Chennai but across Tamil Nadu. The suburban police commissioner will get a digital map of the accident-prone zones ready by then.

Instructions were also issued to get clearances from the Collectors of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur to facilitate uninterrupted mining in quarries along the Padi-Chennai Bypass.

A.Krishnaswamy and C.Kuppusamy, MPs;, E. A. P. Shivaji, B. Ranganathan, MLAs; D. Sudarssanam, Congress Legislative Party Leader; and K. N. Sekar, chairman, Ambattur municipality, participated.

Officials who attended included Highways Secretary K. Allauddin and National Highway Authority of India Members (Technical) S. K. Puri and Ashok Wasson.

Later addressing the media, Mr. Baalu said the exercise undertaken at the Ambattur Municipality on Friday was to expedite work on the prestigious project and bring in transparency to the thorny issue of land acquisition. “It took three-and-a-half years of relentless effort to get the Rs.1,000 crore project cleared by the Union Cabinet,” he recalled.

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