Chennai: Two years have passed since Chennai, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and other coastal districts faced the wrath of the disastrous floods triggered by torrential rainfall. The destruction of the road link due to the bridge having been destroyed during the December 2015 deluge has become a nightmare to motorists travelling on the scenic East Coast Road.
The damaged bridge, on the highway about 60 kms from Chennai, has been crying for attention as it connects Chennai with Kalpakkam, Puducherry, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam and other places.
The authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the broken structure and even two years after destruction there has been no sign of commencing its reconstruction or building a new bridge in its place.
The government had taken up number of restoration works and re-constructed roads, bridges and other infrastructure damaged by the deluge in Cuddalore, Kanchipuram, Thiruvalur, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Thoothukudi. However, this damaged bridge, near Kalpakkam, remains as a testimony to the destruction caused by the torrential rainfall in November and December 2015.
The scenic ECR highway was formed in 1998 by interlinking and improving a series of small village roads that were connecting the fishing hamlets along the Bay of Bengal coast.
After a series of fatal mishaps on the highway due to steep and narrow curves, the authorities had straightened these sharp turns over the years. The Tamil Nadu Road Development Company Ltd (TNRDC), which maintains ECR, allotted funds for widening the highway up to Mahablipuram from Chennai and from Mahabalipuram to Puducherry.
Due to official apathy, the place has been posing a threat to motorists, especially for vehicle users moving towards Puducherry from Mahabalipuram at night.
There are no warning signs ahead of the place as motorists negotiate a dangerous curve to reach the makeshift causeway built over the Kalpakkam backwaters. As a result, an accident takes places routinely here, about once in three days.
Vehicles, including buses, were made to take a detour passing through highly sensitive Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam for months. After great difficulty, a causeway was established at the place.
According to a local resident, Saniyasi, 62 of Vittalapuram, there is no sign of construction work. Next week, people may observe the second anniversary of the destruction of the bridge in December 2015.
Saniyasi, who sells tender coconut near the damaged bridge, said, several leaders including jailed General Secretary of AIADMK (Amma), V. K. Sasikala, and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, deputy CM O Panneerslvam, Central and State ministers, leaders of various political parties and top government officials have crossed the place. Even so, officials have not come forward to take up the construction work and set up a new bridge.
The causeway has been posing a threat to vehicle users as during heavy rainfall this also becomes a hazardous path. According to official sources, a proposal had been sent to the government to construct new bridge in place of the old.