ECR – The Road

Chennai has a road; it’s called the East Coast Road which connects Chennai and the former French colony of Pondicherry. This probably is Chennai’s most popular road amongst those who can afford to burn petrol for a drive down that road.

Speed demons love the because they can touch speeds of up to 150 Kmph, and with not too many places in and round Chennai where such speeds are possible, and the road therefore is a paradise for speed demons.
Image Courtsey

The road runs along the coast, while driving, and on one side is the sea and land on the other side. This view makes the road popular amongst the romantics of Chennai. For them, a drive down the road with the person they love next to them is bliss.

I find the road boring. Yes I did use the verb boring. Every time I drive down the road, it’s always been a battle against my senses to fall asleep while driving. It’s a straight road, which offers straight line speed. That is boring. It doesn’t test my skill as a driver. And nope, straight line speed is not a challenge for me; all it requires is some balls, and half way decent reflexes to jam the breaks when faced with on coming traffic. It’s boring once the initial magic of touching 150 dies.

The real challenge for me is in cornering. Tight corners where the margin for error is negligible, they pose a challenge to me. ECR has few such corners, most are just bends, not even corners, bends are boring. They are mundane and rudimentary. Cornering is fun, it’s a challenge, choosing the right line and speed, the sheer thrill of breaking into a corner and accelerating out of a corner is exhilarating. The ECR sadly offers none of them; it’s a boring straight road with few bends.

Due to the heavy toll charged, this road, like other highways, has hardly any lorry traffic; I immensely enjoy overtaking on highways, especially Lorries. The ECR has a few odd busses which use this road, overtaking them is hardly any fun since they are slow, the thrill of competition before overtaking is missing with busses.

The road is a boring road from a drivers perspective, the road though continues to be a favourite for those who are intoxicated with the magic of speed and those romantics who enjoy driving along the coast line.

19 Comments so far

  1. Navneeth (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 6:54 pm

    You could always go to the Nürburgring, if you want to. :P

  2. Govar (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 8:39 pm

    ECR isn’t the safest road to hit 150s. Its got a lot of people crossing these days. The road to really hit 150s – pretty easily at that – is the chennai bangalore highway. You got the cross all those sriperumdudurs and other towns. If your vehicle takes you, you certainly wouldn’t have problems touching 200s. For the record, I maintained 100+ for a full 40 minutes, which is a miracle on Indian roads.

  3. vatsan (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 9:14 pm

    yes the chennai-blore highway is good, ive enjoyed my drives on that road. one can go fast as well as have some good ol road races ;) ‘

    Wen i have the money i hope to drive there some day :D

  4. Aravind (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 10:23 pm

    its a great road alright.but it lacks the median/divider which today is a must for any arterial road or highway.Scenic,coastline and all that is fine safety should come first.

  5. Aravind (unregistered) on December 19th, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

    its a great road alright.but it lacks the median/divider which today is a must for any arterial road or highway.Scenic,coastline and all that is fine safety should come first.

  6. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 1:05 am

    Believe me (and, unfortunately, you won’t) *anyone* who wants to drive a car at that sort of speed needs more knowledge of driving than is apparent in the road users here.

    The ECR is known for its fatal accidents — see the newspapers.

    Another recent post here spoke of the conditions on the Old Mahabalipuram Road. As a new driver on the streets of Chennai finding his feet slowly (wheels I guess) I encountered it from the driving seat for the first time today. It is incredible how, after crossing the Lattice Bridge, you literally fall off the edge, as the well made road comes to an end, and, about three inches lower, the farm track begins….

  7. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 1:07 am

    …oh! That wasn’t addressed to any particular individual, by the way: just to the entire driving population of Chennai!!!! ;)

  8. SLN (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 2:06 am


    ECR is turning out to be very dangerous. In these days of dual carriageways. it is also out of fashion. Apart from Bangalore highway, you have the 4 lane NH 45 to Tindivanam and the GNT Road (to Kolkatta) too excellent. Chennai bypass (before the widening surely) is another good option for high speed driving.


  9. Bharath (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 4:14 am

    Well, i always thought that the ECR was hopelessly overrated – it doesn;t always go along the coast, its got only a total of 3 lanes (thats including oncoming traffic!) and is horribly expensive for such a short strech. the only thing that is good aboout it is that the road quality is excellent. i think its dumb for ppl to race on the ecr. as pointed out, the madras-b’lore highway is probably the place for that – cleanly divided roads and no so expensive and some good views thrown in around bargur too. the tnrdc should 1st widen ecr and divide it into separate lanes.

  10. januM (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 9:57 am

    thats a good write.. i tell you you’re not crazy enough to enjoy the nature tho’! Pool your friends and go on a race, it would make this word ‘boring’ disappear from you mind about ecr.. and this place is not meant for testing your driving skills of course if you think its only the cleaves that could test em all!
    have a great ride next time, make it interesting for yourself:)

  11. senthil (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

    Please dont post articles like this and encourage racing …already we have fattal casualities in ECR and infact every time i go by the way i see one accident. STOP WRITING LIKE THIS

  12. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

    Ye gods! (of whatever persuasion…)

    Listen to Senthil, if you can’t listen to a what-the-heck-does-he-know foreigner!

    Please stop all this racing rubbish.

  13. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

    … People in my country do this, yes.

    There are speed cameras everywhere: serious fines and loss of licence, makes it hard but they do.

    There is a written driving theory test, and a practical test lasts about half an hour and you have to show you can do all the basic manoevres. Not a two-minute test which your school has already ensured you pass.

    And still people drive badly. And still people die in accidents.

  14. Mukunth (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 9:52 am

    For an interesting drive, please take the Panagal Park circle at anytime except between 11PM to 9AM !!

  15. T.Rajapandian (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 1:00 pm

    The ECR will gradually become more challenging and less boring to drive on as it is being encroached upon day by day.At the point where it starts from Thiruvanmiyur,it has become as narrow as a street with many illegal shops jutting out onto the road. One cant even dream about crossing 30 KMPH here.If this trend continues, in a few years the whole stretch would become a narrow bye lane choked with traffic.

  16. T.Rajapandian (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    Mr.Thad.e.ginathom whats ur nationality? In all probability u r a malayalee using a pseudonym.

  17. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 10:33 pm

    That it is a pseudonym is obvious ;)

    I haven’t made any secret of my nationality, on this site — although I don’t see any need to shout about it either. Another recent post by one of the resident bloggers goes into much greater and more damning detail about Chennai driving than I have, so what difference does one’s state or country have to do with it!

    You think what I said above about driving training and tests is true of Kerala? I haven’t driven there yet, although as a passenger I could observe that Trivandrum’s traffic has nowhere near the frenetic chaos of Chennai’s.

    I am not an Indian Citizen. But I can only take it as a compliment if anyone thinks I am! Of whatever state!

  18. Sam (unregistered) on December 26th, 2006 @ 2:32 pm

    We have enough challenges in the urban roads, so people can stretch their legs while driving on ECR.

  19. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on December 27th, 2006 @ 12:10 am

    I don’t understand ‘stretch the legs’ — do you mean drive irresponsibly fast?

    Or maybe stop for a stroll?

    There’s a better way to stay healthy.

    And alive.

    And, above all, not put the lives of others at risk…

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