In a bid to reduce accidents on the Chennai-Bengaluru Highway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) along with Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) will begin construction of a pedestrian underpass on the highway in Sathuvachari, Vellore district.
Residents are elated as many, including children, have lost their lives while crossing the road, as an existing smaller subway is unsafe to use.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the new pedestrian underpass was conducted on Wednesday. Similar underpasses will be coming up in three other places in Vellore district.
D.M. Kathir Anand, Member of Parliament, Vellore Constituency, A. Shanmuga Sundaram, Vellore Collector, Narayana Reddy, Project Director, NHAI, P. Durairaj, Projector Director, L&T and other officials took part in the ceremony.
The underpass, to be constructed at a cost of close to ₹2 crore, will be 25 metres in length, 5.5 metres in width and 3 metres in height. It will have equipment to pump out water, CCTV cameras and will be well illuminated. “The work is expected to be completed in six months,” said an official from L&T.
Mr. Kathir Anand said that the Sathuvacheri point on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway has been a problem for over a decade. “A lot of accidents take place at this place as pedestrians cross the road through a gap in the barricades. After the road was widened, vehicles ply at a very high speed on the road and the lives of pedestrians are at risk,” he said.
Mr. Anand said that he met with Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and submitted a representation for the underpass which was more feasible than a flyover. “A feasibility study was also conducted. L&T will be constructing the underpass and maintaining it,” he added.
Similar underpasses will be constructed in Perumugai, Kandaneri and Vettuvanam. “The proposal for the facility in Perumugai is already approved and work is expected to begin next month,” said a NHAI official.
Sathuvacheri residents said that the underpass will be of great help. “Two of our students died in road accidents a few years ago while crossing the road. It is a very dangerous point as vehicles zip past the stretch at great speed. There is a vehicle underpass situated some distance away from the new one. But a sewer line runs inside it and people cannot use it. Besides, it is very unsafe as it is not well illuminated and anti-social elements gather there in the night,” said Selva Ganesh, a teacher at the Sathuvachari Panchayat Union Middle School.