While State Highways Department has proposed construction of multi-level grade separators to decongest some of the areas, experts claim that flyovers can offer a temporary solution but only to aggravate traffic problems later.
The Ramapuram intersection on Mount-Poonamallee High Road handles maximum traffic with 1.75 lakh vehicles passing through it on a regularly.
This was revealed in the study of the intensity of traffic at intersections along the Phase Two corridors of Chennai Metro Rail, which criss-crosses through the city offering to provide an efficient mode of transport to reach their destination without wasting their time in traffic snarls.
The detailed project report of Phase Two, Chennai Metro, show that Ramapuram junction handles the maximum daily traffic of 1,75,412 vehicles, including 1,43,805 passenger car units.
The study shows that the traffic along the Mount-Poonamallee High Road is particularly high compared to other places where the Phase Two corridor passes through. The Porur junction witnesses daily traffic volume of 1.27 lakh vehicles, while at Nandambakkam near Chennai Trade Centre sees 1.31 lakh vehicles. Butt road, the narrow stretch that connects the Mount-Poonamallee and Kathipara junction, witness a flow of 68,191 vehicles.
The State Highways Department has proposed to construct a multi-level grade separator on Mount Poonamallee High road from MIOT Hospital to Mugalivakkam via Ramapuram, L&T and DLF worth Rs 200 crore to overcome perennial traffic snarl in the stretch that connects Porur, Ramapuram and Mugalivakkam with Guindy.
“We are planning to decongest the entire stretch of the Mount Poonamallee road. The construction of grade separator is part of that proposal,” the official said, adding that as part of the plan, the Butt Road would also be widened. “We are in the process of acquiring land for widening Butt Road, which narrows down to nine meters at some stretch. We will widen the road to 22 m to ensure the free flow of traffic,” the official said.
The Metro’s detailed project report (DPR) also shows that the Koyambedu Market junction has the second highest traffic flow with 1.72 lakh vehicles passing through it followed by the Dr Kamakshi Hospital junction at Pallikaranai with 1.56 lakh vehicles.
The DPR also throws light on the composition of vehicles in daily traffic. Cars constitutes about 35 to 40 per cent of the traffic at Sardar Patel Road near Punjab National Bank, TTK Salai, Whites Road, ECR Link Road, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Indira Nagar and Adyar road.
Interestingly, a survey for Chennai Metropolitan Regions by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study team in 2017 revealed that 70 per cent of traffic is motorcycles on Inner Ring Road and Chennai Tiruvallur High Road (CTH). The inner ring road has the maximum traffic volume of 2.08 lakh vehicles per day, followed by Chennai-Tiruchy National Highway (NH 45) with 2.05 lakh vehicles. The CTH road records traffic of 1.72 lakh vehicles while the Chennai-Bengaluru highway has 1.69 lakh vehicles.
KP Subramanian, a retired professor from the Division of Transportation Engineering, Anna University, said, “The construction of flyovers is only a short term solution. It passes the problem of congestion from one junction to another. If a flyover is built, it releases congestion for the first few years, but soon it attracts more traffic from the surrounding areas. That is the case of all the flyovers built in the city.”
He added, “We don’t need flyovers but the strategy to integrate all the modes of transport. It is the only way to encourage public transport. But the integration remains only on paper since 2010. We should have a system to issue a single ticket like in Singapore for travelling in all the modes including Metro, suburban trains, buses and even in taxis and autorickshaws.”