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First flyover on four-lane NH to come up

To ease congestion due to phenomenal rise in vehicular movement near Pandikoil junction

MADURAI

In less than 24 months, a first-of-its kind flyover will become operational near the Pandikoil junction on the four-lane Madurai-Chennai National Highway. This is an indicator of a phenomenal rise in vehicular movement not only on the highway but also in the city’s extension area.

With the ELCOT sponsored IT Park functioning almost to its full capacity near Pandikoil, the number of vehicles using the stretch is set to rise further in the coming years at this junction. Sensing the need, the NHAI authorities have planned a flyover, though a short one measuring less than a kilometre. Work on the flyover, which began four months ago, is expected to be over in less than two years.

According to the sources in ELCOT, the IT Park has close to 5500 employees working in various companies, including HCL and Honeywell. The number is likely to go up with the recruitment of another 1000 employees by end of March 2020, they added.

The idea of constructing the flyover is to ensure that vehicular movement on the four-lane highway remained unhindered. At the same time, under the flyover, vehicles criss-crossing the city from Pandikoil side towards Karuppayoorani and other parts can also move without hindrance.

The traffic police personnel at the Vikram Hospital intersection said that the traffic signal was set up about six years ago after the four-way lane was completed. In a bid to regulate vehicular movement towards the southern side and between Gomathipuram and Karupayoorani, the signal was established. As a number of residential colonies, hospitals, kalyana mandapams and schools were coming up on the zone, even beyond Karupayoorani and Veerapanchan, urban planning officials had proposed the fly-over at the Pandikoil junction.

An NHAI engineer at the site said that on an average two lakh vehicles crossed the junction in 24 hours. “The number goes up by 10 % whenever trucks haul materials from ships from VOC Port, Thoothukudi.”

According to a real estate consultant, in less than a decade, land cost on the Pandikoil side, which was around ₹five lakh per acre, had gone skyhigh. With the arrival of four-lane highway and the IT Park, along with mid-sized hospital and automobile showrooms, the cost had escalated pretty high and it revolved around ₹50 lakh per acre. Though there have not been much real time transactions, sellers are waiting for fancy prices and are in no mood to book profits now.

With the widening of roads being completed from Poppys Hotel (near Meenakshi Mission Hospital junction) up to Pandikoil intersection, there is no possibility for creation of traffic bottlenecks on this stretch. However, as the intersection witnessed more and more accidents, it had necessitated the authorities to construct the flyover, which would take care of fast moving vehicles and allow the space below for other vehicles.

When officials were taking swift decision to decongest traffic on the four-lane, equal importance should be accorded to roads within the city limits.

Such an arrangement is essential in at least two intersections in the city, First, the Goripalayam junction has to get a flyover, as announced by late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the Assembly. Next in queue is the Apollo Hospital-Gomathipuram intersection, which too had been witnessing steady flow of vehicles from as early as 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. There is nothing called peak hour traffic or non-peak hour traffic here. Vehicle flow is there in these junctions which connect south Madurai with the north.

Panchanathan, an advocate residing in Gomathipuram, says that a similar flyover had to be built near the Apollo junction as it is a bottleneck. The lack of self-discipline among a majority of vehicle users can be seen at the intersection, which leads to chaos. Presence of police does not give any relief to motorists who follow traffic rules. The only solution would be construction of a flyover at the spot, from Aavin parlour (Sathamangalam side) towards Gomathipuram. Though elected representatives had been making tall promises for long to decongest traffic at this spot, no action had been initiated so far, he says.

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