July 17, 2017
Strong winds that bring with them dust and sand along the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam National Highway (NH 67) have been cause for worry to not just motorists but even pedestrians.
The 36-km highway is considered a busy arterial road, the quickest and main way to reach Udhagamandalam. Around 10 lakh vehicles pass along this road.
People from Mettupalayam, Karamadai, Veerapandi, Periyanaickenpalayam and Thudiyalur and those between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam road coming to the city for work take this route. Even two-wheelers are aplenty on this route.
“I face issues of poor visibility while driving because of the sand. Even though I use a helmet, sand seeps in because of the strong winds. The road gets filled with sand which should be cleared on a regular basis. It was eight months ago that I last saw the road cleaned,” said a private company employee said A Sundarraj.
Work on the four-way track has been moving at a very slow pace. It was recently that tamarind trees were felled near the KSB, Gas Company and LMW areas as part of road widening. The debris too has not be removed, people point out.
“Strong winds bring the sand along with dust. Officials are quick to fell trees but slow for followup action. The widening work will have to be completed before the monsoon. Pedestrians too are danger of being hit b vehicles,” said a public servant LK Prakash.
Officers of the highways department said widening work was on track. “With the help of machinery, work is on in good pace. Sand is being dumped to fill the pits and work is expected to be over in eight weeks,” said an official.
Doctors they said the sand and dust can cause respiratory problems. “Dust allergy, asthma and breathing troubles are quite common these days. The sand along the roadside can be cause for lung infection. I request people to wear masks,” said Dr E Mathivanan.