The state highways department has started road widening work now at Kottivakkam on the East Coast Road or ECR in Chennai. The shops and houses near Kottivakkam are being demolished now. In future, the road would be expanded into a 6 lane stretch.
There is now heavy traffic congestion on the 1km road of width 6 to 10m and it would be widened into 22m. For this, an amount of Rs 17 cr would be spent. In the year 2006, this road widening project was first announced and has been delayed till now. The reason was due to the fact that the private landowners between Thiruvanmiyur and Akkarai refused to vacate and approached courts. This despite receiving eviction notices from the government.
Final eviction notices have been issued in June to many owners after orders were passed in the favour of the highways department. As a result, the demolition work has started here now. Road widening work at Palavakkam has already started by the engineers from the Highways dept.
To extend the widening work to the subsequent areas on ECR including Injambakkm, Neelankarai and sholinganallur etc, agreements have been signed with the contractors. In the next week, demolition works will take place in these 3 mentioned places. Point is that once the work gets completed the motorists would be able to cross the stretch in just 20 minutes as against 40 minutes now during the peak hours.
The road widening work has been appreciated by many residents now. The stretch has many cafes, resorts, wedding halls, commercial establishments etc and expansion would be of huge benefit for the tourists here than the residents. This was mentioned by Mr. G. Suresh kuamr, a resident activist from Kottivakkam. According to Mr. Rengachari, transportation activist, construction of broader roads without a traffic plan or transport plan would only lead to chaos.