Toll soon on Chennai's new IT Corridor

Motorists using the soon-to-be-completed IT Corridor stretch of the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) will soon have to pay toll through a sophisticated system which uses machinery such as onboard units (OBUs). The government has notified the toll for various categories of vehicles to use the road constructed by the Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation (TNRDC) under the build-operate-transfer mode. Three modes of payments — cash, smart cards and OBU – are available for users. With the completion of this part of the state highway, the toll plazas will start functioning in a month. However, initially, for about a month, there will be no collection. This will be a trial period to ensure that the OBU technology is made fool-proof, and that traffic flow is smooth. The toll road will be the second in the country — after the Delhi-Noida expressway – where toll is collected by using OBUs. The onboard unit is an imported gadget that ensures payment of toll without vehicles having to stop at the plaza.TNRDC managing director K R Viswanathan said that more than 10,000 such gadgets had been imported. “Smart cards will be given to those who make a minimum of 50 trips a month and Rs 100 will be collected as administrative charges. It will be Rs 1,000 for OBUs,” he said. The smart cards and OBUs work on a pre-paid system where you have to recharge the card for various denominations beginning from Rs 50.With rapid increase in vehicular movement, the promoters want to encourage more users to avail of OBUs and smart cards, which take lesser time to pay the toll than cash payment. If cash payment takes at least 12 seconds, smart cards and OBUs take six and three seconds each respectively. The road is being completed after a delay of over two years. The whole stretch of the OMR will be ready by the end of this month, and will soon be open to traffic. The delay had evoked misgivings among the public, as the road conditions were very poor in some stretches. The stretch houses offices of major domestic and trans-national players in the information technology sector. The six-lane carriage way, now named after Rajiv Gandhi, connects Madhya Kailash junction in Adyar with Siruseri over a distance of 20.1 km. Besides, a 2.1 km stretch that links the road with the parallel East Coast Road has also been laid as part of the corridor. More than 500 workers on this stretch have been working overtime to meet the latest end-of-the-month deadline. The construction of toll plazas, the two main ones at Perungudi and Siruseri, and satellite plazas at three points, one on ECR Link Road, and others at Medavakkam and Thoraipakkam, are getting final touches.The road has been laid by the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company Ltd (TNRDC), a 50:50 joint venture between the state-owned TIDCO and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL & FS). It is one of the first public-private partnership ventures for infrastructure in the country, set up in 1998. Highways department secretary K Allaudin, who has been closely monitoring the progress, visiting the spot along with TIDCO chairman and managing director R Ramasundaram every Monday, attributed the delay to design changes and contractual problems. “Though the heavy rains in 2005 and 2006 dampened the progress substantially, in a way they helped us redesign the structure. If we had laid the road as per the old plan, it would have got submerged during heavy rains. Now we have elevated the road level by giving provisions for lead-off drains every one km,” he said. All the service utilities, electrical and telecom cables and drinking water pipes will be taken into special ducts beneath the service road and footpath. Initially, the electricity board wanted the duct on one side. With the development on either side of the corridor, it demanded a duct on the other side also, the official said.The construction of service lanes and footpaths will be carried out later. The government has also initiated the land acquisition process for the second phase of the project.
At Perungudi and Siruseri, two of the five toll lanes each way will be dedicated to the on-board unit (OBU) users Under the pre-paid system, an electronic tag/OBU is installed on the windscreen of the vehicle and the OBU interacts with the toll management system through radio frequency to debit the amount of toll into the pre-paid account for every passage The car is not required to stop and the vehicle can cross the toll plaza through the dedicated lanes at a speed of around 20 kmph. The users can recharge the amount. On every trip, the user can view the balance amount in his/her card .For a car, you will have to pay a minimum of Rs 600 per month. This apart from administrative charges of Rs 100 for smart cards and Rs 1,000 for OBUs No toll will be charged for twowheelers Local residents exempted from paying toll.
Total length: 20.1 km (Madhya Kailash to Siruseri)
No of lanes: 3 on either side
Total project cost: Rs 300 crore
30,000 vehicles pass through on both sides every day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why would the public need to pay the toll? Does the government need to take care of the infrastructure of the country? We are paying for the road means, we will be the owner of the road. Is it so? What is the government doing with all our tax money collected? Actually the toll in many western countries are collected to minimize the use of the road like PCH in the US. And moreover the IT corridor is not ready, the service lanes are being built, the pedestrians/ motorists cross the road in between when you are driviing at 50/60 km. How would you expect to pay the toll for the unfinished roads. It clearly shows the attitide of the governemnt and the builder, that they are totally money motvated.