North Usman Road flyover: why is it the first?

If you are looking for news about the flyover opened at Panagal Park point on August 14, that post is here. The post below pertains to the older one opened at Mahalingapuram. 

A number of flyover projects are under implementation in Chennai, and one has been hanging fire now for seven years.

So why is the North Usman Road flyover connecting Theagaraya Nagar (T.Nagar) and Mahalingapuram going to be the first of the new crop of flyovers to be opened to traffic on March 30?

The simple explanation could be that it is an “easy” one, not very ambitious in its scope. But that seems too simple. Many complicated projects are completed by governments in record time: we remember the Nehru Stadium that was built in no time during the AIADMK period; the Hyderabad airport at Shamshabad that was opened by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi yesterday is another.

flyover.jpg

As someone who uses Arcot Road regularly, I tend to think that the Mahalingapuram flyover was completed well ahead of others because Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi has been using the road a lot, ever since the Kalaignar TV plan took shape. Maybe that was not the driving factor for early completion, but it is true that the flyover will help everyone until the traffic levels rise to neutralise the advantage. (It would be useful to think of the times when the Kodambakkam bridge replaced the level crossing very near the new flyover. It must have felt like heaven. Look at how choked it is today).

The new bridges and flyovers will be only partial relief to the owners of all those Audis, BMWs and Mercedeses in the city. The only people travelling fast are those in the trains towards Beach and Tambaram that run along these bridges! 

I can only offer my sympathies to those living on the Mahalingapuram side. They now have no footpath, as the existing one has been eaten up by the flyover. Those who live along the roads under the new structure are going to find it painful to remove their cars in the morning. There is no question of their visitors parking anywhere nearby either. If they are getting any supplies or are moving house, they must do it at dead of night, because no vehicle can wait in the narrow road.

We in India have this peculiar culture of making Murphy’s Law work effortlessly! This situation is no exception and we don’t expect any solutions from our rulers and babus.

Update: After the opening of the North Usman Road – Mahalingapuram flyover on March 30, a new traffic arrangement has been introduced. The details are here.

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