Madurai: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has started construction work on an underpass at Karungalakudi junction on the Madurai-Trichy national highway. The underpass will help villagers in the vicinity who are prone to accidents due to speeding vehicles while crossing the road.
NHAI officials said that the construction work for the project proposed at an outlay of Rs 21 crore, was initiated only a few days ago and will be completed in an year’s time. It was a long-pending demand from people of villages such as Kambur and Karungalakudi in Madurai district and various villages in Sivaganga district, who frequent the road.
Elected representatives from Madurai also lent their support for the project by raising the issue at various levels, said an official from the NHAI.
“People can cross the road to access the villages on both sides. Highway users need not reduce the speed and have a hassle-free movement. Service roads are available on both sides of the road. They will be enhanced upon completion of the underpass project,” a NHAI official said.
A police official from Madurai said that vehicles travelling on the highways can also feel safer as there would not be any crossing once the project is completed. “Police and NHAI tried everything from introducing blinking lights, barricades to bring down the speed to bring down the accidents. The project will be the permanent solution,” he said.
At least 12 deaths were reported in a year on an average in the junction before 2018. Most of the accidents took place either in the night or early morning due to poor illumination. The number of deaths came down gradually after the district police and NHAI introduced various safety measures.
“We sensitized people to be more careful while crossing the road. We also urged people to carry a torch light to indicate their presence to the drivers of the speeding vehicles. But not many people followed it. We are trying hard to bring down road deaths throughout the district. The project will help us a lot,” the police officer added.