Poonamallee High Road, officially known as Periyar EVR High Road (National Highway 4), is an arterial road in Chennai, India. Running from east to west, the 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) road starts at Muthuswamy Bridge near Madras Medical College at Park Town and ends near Maduravoyal Junction via Kilpauk, Aminjikarai, Anna Nagar Arch, Arumbakkam, Koyambedu. It further continues west towards Poonamallee and traverses Sriperumbudur, Walajapet, and Ranipet. It connects two of the vital transport installations of the city, viz. Chennai Central railway station and the CMBT. The road has more hospitals than any other roads in the city and is popularly known as the city's 'Med street'.
Poonamallee High Road is six metres (20 ft) wide in most stretches, except for the stretch between Koyambedu and Anna Nagar Arch, which has only four lanes. The width of the road varies from two to nine lanes or from 12 to 35 metres (39 to 115 ft). The road narrows at the stretches between Ripon Building and Government Fine Arts College, Pachaiyappa's College and Shenoy Nagar junction, and DG Vaishnav College and Koyambedu. The road has not been widened since the 1980s. The road is used by more than 185,000 vehicles every day. Heavy containers from and to the Chennai Port use this road at night, making it one of the heavily worn roads of the city and necessitating regular re-laying. As of 2008, about 11,000 passenger cars cross any given point of the road every hour. As of 2013, this has been projected to 19,000 passenger cars, more than five times the designed capacity of the road.
In 2011, the bridge across Cooum river at Aminjikkarai was widened at a cost of ₹ 69 million.
In 2013, a new and wider bridge on the road across the Cooum river near Ampa Skywalk was planned at an estimated cost of ₹ 80 million under the Chennai Metropolitan Development Programme (CMDP). The 47-m-long bridge with 10 lanes, which will be the third "high-level bridge" over the river, will be broader than the road with 6 lanes. The bridge, at road level, will be at a height of 9.5 m from the riverbed. The bridge will have the same design as the old one abutting it, with two abutments and two piers.
With several hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and diagnostic laboratories dotting its entire length, Poonamallee High Road is often called Chennai's 'med street', similar to London's Harley Street. The establishment of two of the major government-run hospitals, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, remains a significant reason behind the road's morphing into a medical destination. The stretch is also home to Pandalai Nursing Home, one of the earliest private hospitals in the city, established in 1932, prior to which all hospitals were run by either the British or missionaries. Many private healthcare centres were opened since then, such as Sundaravadanan Nursing Home in 1934 and Ramarau Polyclinic in 1938, which had one of the earliest X-ray units. The stretch also has about 25 standalone pharmacies.
As of 2014, the arterial stretch carries around 250,000 vehicles a day, of which two-wheelers constituted 60 percent, cars 30 percent, and buses and other heavy vehicles the remaining.
Major landmarks dotting the road include the following:Madras Medical College
Southern Railway headquarters
Government General Hospital
Chennai Central railway station
Moore Market Complex
Chennai Park railway station
Victoria Public Hall
Government Fine Arts College
Chennai Traffic Police Headquarters
St. Andrew's Church
Sangam Theatre Complex
Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital
St. Georges Higher Secondary School
Ampa Skywalk mall
Government Hospital of Indian Medicine
Dwaraka Doss Goverdhan Doss Vaishnav College
Koyambedu grade separator
Rohini Theatre Complex
Maduravoyal grade separator
ACS Medical College and Hospital
Saveetha Dental College
In May 2013, a 300-m stretch of the road at Shenoy Nagar near Aminjikarai which acted as a bottleneck was widened, following a Madras High Court ruling. Officials of the state highways department cleared the encroachments that had reduced the width of the road.
In the early 2000s, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) conceived an idea of a 6.5-km stretch connecting the two arterial stretches of Poonamallee High Road and Anna Salai in the city. The idea is to create a traffic corridor connecting Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road through the congested neighbourhoods of Chetpet, Nungambakkam and T. Nagar. In 2014, the Corporation modified the original alignment to create two corridors, namely, a 3.5-km stretch from Anna Salai to Mahalingapuram and a 3-km flyover connecting Thirumalai Pillai Road and Poonamallee High Road (covering five traffic bottlenecks in Chetpet junction, Sterling Road junction, Tank Bund Road junctions and Valluvar Kottam High Road junction).
In 2014, the highways department fixed the alignment of a 5.18-km-long, 4-laned elevated corridor that will take off at Raja Muthiah Salai, near Ripon Buildings, and descend near Pulla Reddy Avenue in Shenoy Nagar. The project has been estimated to cost ₹4,500 million.