Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chennai IT expressway should be "extended till Cuddalore"

Homes near offices will help cut congestion on IT Corridor
TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 11.05pm IST

It’s a long road to workplaces. To lessen the strain of employees who currently travel 40 km to and from work, the IT expressway should have adequate housing, schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure, say experts.

“Employees usually stick with a company for a fairly long period of time. So most of them stay in Chennai and commute to their offices on OMR because there are more facilities for their families in Chennai,” says AN Sachithanandan, ex-president, Institute of Town Planners of India.

One sure way of addressing commuter woes is to expand the expressway and build facilities around it, say experts. “The expressway starts abruptly at Madhya Kailash and ends at Siruseri. Ideally it should extend till Puducherry or Cuddalore like the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which runs for nearly 100 km,” says urban engineering expert KP Subramanian.

Company transportation is a temporary option, says Subramanian. “Company vehicles add to the traffic and sap the city’s resources, including roadspace. Also, commuting is not a desirable concept when you take into account the amount of fuel and time spent,” he says.

With optimal utilisation of land resources, authorities can also consider a dedicated bus corridor for the six-lane expressway. “Buses will move without any hindrance or cross-traffic,” says MG Devasahayam, former administrator of Chandigarh Capital Project.

For now, independent agencies are coming up with their own solutions. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation, which runs nearly 400 trips on this stretch daily, plans to augment the service by introducing more air-conditioned buses. Southern Railway is planning to lay a new line to connect Chennai with Puducherry and Cuddalore. The proposed line will connect Sholinganallur, Kovalam, Tiruporur and Mamallapuram till Cuddalore Fort.

Authorities should come up with some short-term solutions as well to ease the traffic flow, say commuters. “Many approach roads aren’t equipped to handle the same amount of traffic as the expressway,” says former IT professional V Ranganathan. The government should increase the green signal time at junctions at Vijayanagar in Velachery and Sholinganallur checkpost to avoid huge pile-up of vehicles, he says.

(with inputs from Jeeva, V Ayyappan & T K Rohit)