The absence of a bridge across the level crossing near Korukkupet Railway Station is putting thousands of commuters at fatal risks.
The railway gates at both ends, Kannan Street and Thiyagappa Street, close very often as sub-urban trains pass through the station every hour. Since commuters from Old Washermenpet and surrounding areas travel through this level-crossing to connect to Basin Bridge and Kodungaiyur, vehicles in large numbers queue up in the narrow streets here.
As a commonplace occurrence, those riding two-wheelers and tricycles, loaded with gas cylinders, flout safety norms and bend under the railway gates to cross the tracks.
Only a few months ago, a train had whacked a scooter, while a woman was trying to cross the junction. Though the woman and her twin children, in a narrow escape, jumped away to safety, the scooter landed far away.
Though violation of safety norms contribute largely to the number of accidents, commuters feel it is high time the city Corporation built a bridge across the level crossing.
“This is the shortest route to reach Basin Bridge or Kodungaiyur. If not for this level-crossing, we need to take a two-km detour across Mint Bridge or Vaidhyanathan Flyover in Tondiarpet to reach the other side. A bridge here would smoothen the traffic flow in the narrow streets and also reduce accidents, said R Arunachalam, a commuter.
R Pazhaniappan, another commuter, noted that vehicles queue up at the spot for at least 100 metres. “How many vehicles can cross the crossing from both sides in just five minutes? Sometimes, traffic gets jammed even in the middle of the level crossing which is very dangerous as only suburban trains stop at Korukkupet and Express trains speed away without stopping.”
Though a Railway Protection Force office is located just 20 feet away, hundreds violate safety norms while crossing the tracks daily.
A top Corporation official said that they were mulling ways to facilitate traffic better in the area. “Buildings on both sides of the gate need to be razed if we have construct a bridge and a subway can’t be built as oil pipes are passing underground. So, it’s a tricky situation but we will come up with a solution soon.” The official also hinted at traffic diversion plans.