Chennai has three waterways running through it, one of which is the Buckingham Canal — once an elegant canal on which barges transported people and goods, now essentially an open sewer. But the canal divides the city, especially the southern parts of the city: there are very few motorable crossings south of the Adyar river. The first major one is at Sardar Patel road, the next at Tidel Park about 2km further south, and the next at Shozhinganallur nearly 10 km beyond that.
In between the first two above, there was a narrow pedestrian bridge, which served as the main route for residents of our institute’s hostel and guest house — and several others in the neighbourhood — to access the commercial areas of Indira Nagar, Adyar and Besant Nagar on the other side. The bridge was designed for pedestrians and cyclists; motorbikes were always frequent users, but recently auto-rickshaws and even cars have been using it heavily. Whenever police tried to barricade it so that only pedestrians could access it, the barriers were removed.
Early on Sunday morning, a truck laden with bricks tried to use it. This was the result.
Thanks to one truck driver who had no idea what his vehicle weighed, and several inconsiderate souls who kept removing those barricades, residents of this mainly academic neighbourhood will no longer be able to walk across (or cycle across) to the commercial area on the other side. And when I cycle to work, which is fairly often, I will need to use the busy main road and not the quiet inner roads that I earlier favoured.