A bridge that serves no purpose

Mainly because of poor planning at Palanganatham

With the number of vehicles on Madurai roads steadily on the rise, the city is seeing implementation of new projects to build flyovers while a majority of the existing flyovers are already stretched to their maximum capacity during peak hours.

However, there is one road overbridge at Palanganatham, built at a cost of ₹ 30 crore, that remains an exception as it is rarely used, mainly because of poor planning of the bridge.

The bridge is the preferred choice for walkers in TVS Nagar and nearby areas in the mornings.

In the evenings, one can see youngsters going on jolly rides in bikes and bicycles and in the night the bridge transforms into a place for groups of people to drink, as the broken liquor bottles on a section of the bridge indicate. It is also used as parking space often.

While the bridge was originally intended to connect Madakulam on one side and two arms at the other side connecting Jaihindpuram and TVS Nagar, only the arm connecting TVS Nagar is completed. Even the completed stretch does not appear to be officially declared open as the entry to the bridge from TVS Nagar still has a small wall blocking a portion of the carriageway.

A. Mahalingam, who hawks near the bridge, said that the bridge served no purpose despite being in a busy junction of the city. “Not many vehicles need to go to Madakulam from TVS Nagar. They want to join the Tirupparankundram Main Road. But it is very difficult to take a U-turn after getting down the bridge on Madakulam side due to lack of space,” he said.

A number of commuters The Hindu spoke to said that the subway at the spot, which serves the same purpose, must have been designed better and wider instead of constructing the bridge.

“The subway now has a clearance for only three metres, which makes it unusable for heavy vehicles. Moreover, it is too narrow with a sharp turn that makes it accident-prone,” said V.P. Manikandan, a social worker and a regular user of the road.

A Sub-Inspector with Madurai city traffic police posted at Palanganatham conceded that the bridge remained useless despite efforts by police to bring it to use at least to an extent. “Perhaps we can insist on all vehicles coming from TVS Nagar and going to Madakulam and away to compulsorily use the bridge so that congestion at the junction below the bridge reduces. However, it is difficult to enforce,” he added.

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