Church Road in Chennai is unnavigable, say residents

Church Road in Mugappair East is in pathetic state after work on the Nolambur canal began nearly a year back. The Nolambur canal which is 2.4km long is being de-silted and renovated after the 2015 floods completely inundated the neighbourhood. But work on the small stretch started in April 2018 is taking forever to complete.

What irks the residents more is the utter disregard for commuter safety as the entire Church Road is dangerous with deep potholes everywhere and no warning signs to alert motorists.

S Sathish Kumar, a resident of the area, said, “We understand that the canal work is taken up for the benefit of residents. What irks us is the lack of planning. Thank god, it did not rain heavily this monsoon. The entire area would have been flooded if it did as the canal could carry only very little water in the condition that it was in at the time.”

The street connecting Church Road to Union Road is also worse for wear because of the canal work. The bridge over the canal leading to this road was demolished, leaving just a small overhang on which two-wheelers and pedestrians reach the other side.

The overhang is supported precariously by a concrete pipe which if breaks could lead to the motorists falling into the canal.

Sathish says, “The bridge should have been demolished completely. It is extremely dangerous to cross the pathway, especially at night. But authorities are not concerned about safety. They should have barricaded the entire area. It would have been inconvenient for the people, but at least, it would save them from possible grievous injuries. There are no warning signs too.”

“They should have taken it up in parts and finished quickly. Currently, work is going on along the entire stretch affecting traffic in the entire area. How long more will Church Road be like this?,” he questions.

Officials say the canal work has been hit by a lot of problems. “We had to shift the Metrowater pipeline and deal with court cases by residents encroaching at the disposal point. A certain portion of the land belonged to the housing board and the land transfer took some time.”

Church Road provides a vital link to the neighbourhood with the Poonamallee High Road and thousands of vehicles ply on it every day.

A Harsha Vardhan