Traffic menace at IT Corridor

Ananya Srivastava

Chennai, March 23: “I have to wait for more than three hours in traffic in the evening while going to Thiruvanmiyur, the closest MRTS station, about 22 kms from Padur,” says Ravichandran, a student at the Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science [HITS] in Padur here.

That is the state of the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) stretch along TIDEL park, Tecci park and SIPCOT Industrial park — the three IT parks in the city where several Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are placed under Special Economic Zones (SEZs). A toll gate and the HITS campus at the outskirts of the city along the OMR make the traffic crawl.

In the peak hours in the mornings and evenings, the whole stretch of roughly 25 kms is clogged with heavy traffic. Ravichandran, the third-year aeronautical engineering student, says, “Even though I live in one of the apartments nearby, the traffic makes it difficult to commute every day. In the afternoon as well it takes 45 minutes from my place to the college. For those coming from afar, it is much worse. Sometimes when we go out for movies at, say, 5 in the evening, the traffic is really bad because of the IT parks.”

Dwarakesh, a cab driver, says, “I’ve been driving along this stretch for the past two years, from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. and in the morning it is really bad. It takes one hour to drive the 10 kms from Medavakkam to Sathyabama University [10 kms from HITS].”

At TIDEL Park in Taramani, where the OMR stretch begins, the arterial service lane, made for walkers and cyclists, is the most sought-after throughout the day by cabs and motorcycles. The pavement is filled with gravel, making it difficult to walk and the concrete lane is broken. The shrubs in the middle of the OMR or Rajiv Gandhi Salai, however, are being pruned.

Kavya, a student of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which is 900 metres from the IT park, says, “I usually come back from the college to the nearby hostel around 5.30 p.m. and it is very hard to walk through here because of the vehicles. The traffic is very heavy, except in the afternoon”, she points to the moderate rush of vehicles and walkers. “People get stuck in traffic and are not able to walk along it because there are no separate footpaths along the stretch,” she says.