Residents wonder if the facility will undergo repairs after the project is completed
Recently, rows of steel beams were seen occupying bus bays at the Pattabiram bus terminus on the Chennai – Tiruvallur High (CTH) Road, turning the facility into a storehouse of construction material.
Taking advantage of the lockdown, the State Highways Department has used the space at the terminus for storing materials for the Road Over Bridge (ROB) work. Work is under way to construct a six-lane bridge to replace the existing manned railway level crossing (LC-2) that connects Pattabiram with Thirunindravur and the Outer Ring Road (ORR).
The terminus resembles a mini work site.
Temporary structures that have been built to make steel frames for the bridge work have damaged the concrete floor at the terminus. Raised platforms where commuters could wait before boarding buses and the time keeper’s cabin have also been damaged due to the dumping of construction material. A feeding cabin for mothers, which was opened at the terminus in 2015, is also in a shambles.
T. Sadagopan, a social activist and resident of Pattabiram, feels that by converting the terminus into a storehouse for construction material has caused damage to the facility. “Once normality returns, commuters especially women, children and senior citizens will find it risky to use the damaged bus terminus,” he says.
Unlike many other bus termini, including the ones in Avadi, Anna Nagar West, Mogappair East and West, the terminus in Pattabiram does not have a compound wall to prevent such dumping of construction material within its premises.
Residents point out that as terminus operated only two bus services, and with the lockdown these buses have moved to its depot at Avadi bus terminus, the bus terminus has been left unguarded and therefore invited such activities.
State Highways officials say that they do not have adequate space to store construction material for the bridge work, so the empty and unused bus terminus was chosen. Besides, the terminus is located opposite the upcoming bridge, and transportation of construction materials is easy.
Prior to the lockdown, every day, more than 15 pairs of suburban trains were operated between Chennai Central and Pattabiram Military Siding depot on a separate rail line from Pattabiram, mainly for the defence personnel and their families settled in areas around the depot. On the other hand, on an average, more than 80,000 vehicles including MTC buses, goods-laden lorries and cars used to cross the level-crossing daily. The movement of traffic was affected due to closure of the railway level-crossing there. During emergencies, ambulances too have to wait at the level crossing as the de-tour will take an additional 10 kilometres via Thirunindravur.
“Steps will be taken to find alternative ways to keep the construction materials safely for the bridge work,” says a State Highways official.
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