East Coast Road: Watch your speed. That’s a highway, not a runway to fly | Chennai News – Times of India


In February, Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated an advanced traffic management system along East Coast Road to reduce accidents.
The Rs 8.6-crore project set up by the state government included an Automatic Speed Enforcement System (ASES), an Automatic Video Incident Detection System (AVIDS) and a Vehicle-Activated Speed Signs (VASS) —all meant to detect any speeding vehicle or an accident along the 33-km stretch between Akkarai and Mamallapuram and alert the control room at Uthandi toll gate for police to reach the spot soon.
Around a dozen poles with high definition (HD) cameras were installed by Ador, a private firm chosen by the government. But the control centre in Uthandi was shut, when TOI visited the spot last week.
As per the rules, no vehicle can travel more than 80 km per hour (kmph) on ECR. VASS boards, installed on roadsides and medians, warn drivers about excess speed and pick up 8-10 violations every hour.
But there is no follow-up action on speed violations as no alerts are passed on to police through the control room and violators continue to go scot-free. Official data shows that 90% of the nearly 50 accidents reported on ECR between Mamallapuram and Akkarai every year are caused by speeding.
Multiple government sources confirmed that the control centre is yet to become completely functional as some of the components are yet to be installed. They attributed the delay to restricted travel movement of workers from industries in the north due to the lockdown. As of now, the control room is only recording video clips and challans are yet to be generated.
S Kamal Soi, a member of the National Road Safety Council, said that enforcement works only when there is fear of being caught and punished.
“Having display boards for speed alone will not act as a deterrent. The state government should start feeding this white elephant by starting operations at the control and command centre.”
CCTV surveillance cameras, installed by police, can help, at the most, in investigation and help in finding who was at fault or what went wrong after the accident takes place.
Only an effective ASES can save lives, he added. Even civil work (to prevent accidents) has remained incomplete along ECR for years.
In some areas, there are no signages along approach roads to alert motorists of incoming vehicles. Some stretches don’t have adequate lighting and there is stray cattle menace too.
Also, the 66-km stretch between the heritage town of Mamallapuram and Marakkanam is only a two-way road.
A tender for a project to expand this into a four-way road was floated in 2018. Work has just begun on the stretch between Mamallapuram and Vayalur.

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