Chennai Metro Rail construction work ends up a source of woe for residents

by mcdix

Tiresome diversions, twisting lines of vehicles, and smoking commuters have become common sights where work on the Phase II project has begun. Two months ago, a city resident, Karthik K., 40, had to rush his father-in-law to a hospital in Vadapalani. From Vadapalani’s bus stop to the hospital, which should have taken him just 10 minutes, turned out to be a 25-minute slog. “Those were some of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life. I was stuck in heavy traffic. I was mentally exhausted when I reached the hospital and started my father-in-law’s treatment. Fortunately, he is now safe. A similar incident happened to my uncle, who had a heart problem, and the journey from Virugambakkam to Vadapalani took my family 40 minutes. We need better traffic management,” he says.

Traveling through Arcot Road and Vadapalani is a nightmare as traffic moves quickly during rush hours, even since construction work on the Chennai Metro Rail has begun. Many commuters are also confused by the route diversions. “The reduced road width and diversions have made traveling this stretch very tiring,” added Mr. Karth. ik. When new infrastructure projects like the metro announcements are announced, residents and commuters alike are excited as they expect transit to become easier and faster. In the Phase II project, construction has started in many parts, including Madhavaram, Purasawalkam, Adyar, Medavakkam, Vadapalani, Arcot Road, Greenways Road, Poonamallee, Porur.

As the project covers 118.9 km, it is a huge undertaking that will take several years. It will be extended to other areas soon. While residents would like to see the city get a better public transport system, which is well integrated with existing modes of transport, they say that until the project is completed, they will face a myriad of problems, from getting stuck in traffic to spending more on fuel and taxis due to traffic congestion and diversions.

Chennai Metro Rail


A frustrating exercise

Residents say getting a taxi or auto rickshaw every time they travel is frustratine. Taxi drivers or motorists charge twice the rate, often signaling that they must take a detour and travel extra distances when fuel prices are rising. Commuters say they have been forced to spend more on travel as fuel rates have grown. The amount of fuel consumed has also increased. As a result, some residents add. “More fuel is consumed for the same route than before. Before this work was done, I would be in the shop in 15 minutes, but now it easily takes 25 minutes or more. The number of customers I normally get has also fallen due to diversions,” said Sakthivel A., a resident of Nerkundram who travels to his medical shop on Arcot Road daily.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials say they have noticed this issue and have conducted frequent inspections to monitor the traffic disruptions. “We have identified some of the sites and will ask the contractor to reduce the space on the site to increase the road width to ease the congestiot. We also keep track of contractors’ short and long-term deadlines,” said an official. These issues are not exclusive to Vadapalani and Arcot Road and persist in other locations. From Manapakkam to Poonamallee, the roadway has shrunk since construction is underway in the middle of the road, said Mohammed Ghose, an Avadi resident. “The path is now too narrow. Only a car can enter, andovertakinge is not possible either. If someone comes on the other or the wrong side, traffic will be blocked all along the route,” he adds.

In the mornins, between 07:00 and 09:00, crossing the stretch between the Porur and Poonamallee junction is an ordeal for office visitors traveling beyond Poonamallee. “Simultaneously, the buses of educational institutions, factories, and other institutions are driving. There are always traffic jams, and we find it difficult to cross the stretch,” said A. Rathinam, another commuter from Manapakkam. R. Subharaj, secretary of the Senior Citizens’ Support Forum and a resident of Adyar, says that since the work began in Indira Nagar, vehicles coming from Old Mahabalipuram Road are struggling to pass that stretch due to congestion.

‘For the greater good.’

“But as commuters, we nmustdeal with some inconveniences for the common good. The city will benefit a lot if this system is built. But we only hope that the officials will finish the construction on time,” he adds. Additional Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Kapilkumar C. Sarka,r says that the contractors carry out two types of work on the roads: the core work in the metro, and the work in the adjacent area,s such as sewage construction, related to Metrowerks. All these are allowed only after getting proper permission. “Our agents come to the scene and verify that all necessary parameters and permissions have been obtained. If the road width is short, one-way traffic or tiversions will be implemented where necessary. We are also constantly circulating information about the diversions given the CMRL work on media and social media,” he said.

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