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Delay in subway, flyover construction irks public in Chennai

The State Highways department started the construction of Kovilambakkam signal flyover two years ago, but work stopped after six months.

Four major infrastructure projects of subways and flyovers aimed to ease traffic congestion in the city have been at a standstill for a very long time now, thanks to poor coordination between State highways and Southern Railways.

The construction of flyovers at Kovilambakkam and Villivakkam has been halted, while motorists plying via Korattur and Annanur level crossing face traffic obstruction due to snail paced construction work on flyovers.

Kovilambakkam bridge stats

The State Highways department started the construction of Kovilambakkam signal flyover two years ago, but work stopped after six months. Accidents have become common in the vicinity due to the vehicles and construction equipment lying on both sides of the road, allegse a resident of Kovilambakkam.

While at Villivakkam subway, the construction was mooted eight years ago, commuters see no sign of progress even though the traffic police had given approval to divert the traffic for resuming the work.

“Office-goers from Villivakkam, Perambur, Korattur and Kolathur travelling to IT parks in Ekkatuthangal, Taramani and Porur would be largely benefited if the Villivakkam and Korattur subways are constructed soon. Public has to bear the brunt of traffic snarls during peak hours,” says R Dev, a resident of Villivakkam.

Another subway project in North Chennai started five years ago, near Korattur railway station, with the level crossing (LC-4-Korattur) closed since 2013. After the RCC blocks were laid on the tracks, there has been no progress in the construction.  Meanwhile, the deadline for the civic project was before 2017, the project remains uncompleted crossing its deadline even after a year. The Annanur flyover project that started in 2012 has been at a standstill soon after the work started. While the railway authorities say that the construction work has been affected due to controversies surrounding the demolition of a temple and a mosque in the neighbourhood to complete the work, residents say that before starting this project, authorities said that all the public property would remain untouched.

Ramanujar, a petty shop owner said, “to save time, many cross the railway track without following the signal, and this is why accidents happen. Trains do not even blow horn or use their beam lights and this leads to accidents. If the flyover gets completed, time and life both can be saved, especially for students of neighbouring schools who use it on a daily basis.”

Residents allege that it takes around 45 minutes to cross without the flyover because every vehicle has to cross the railroad. G Kavitha, an advocate, Madras High Court and a local resident said, “It is very difficult to rescue somebody and take them to hospital. Everybody has to cross the railway track and that consumes more time”.

Southern Railway officials say that removal of encroachments is being carried out at Villivakkam, while Korattur subway would be completed by the end of this year. Authorities remained unresponsive on Annanur subway and Kovilambakkam flyover construction, stating blandly that the work is in progress.

State Highways and Southern Railway officials blamed each other for delaying the projects, which brings lack of cooperation and poor coordination between the authorities to light.

Article first published in DC.

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