The new barrage-cum-road project across the Cauvery at Mayanur in Karur district is now steaming ahead and the Rs. 234-crore ambitious work is expected to be completed by August after considerable time delay.

A bed regulator, around 250 metres upstream of the new barrage at Mayanur, has been there since 1934. But the farmers whose fields are irrigated by Kattalai High Level Canal, New Kattalai High Level Canal, South Bank Canal and North Bank Canal branching off on either side of the Cauvery, have been demanding a barrage that could store flood water to feed the irrigation channels and improve the water table in the adjoining areas. The four channels irrigate over 1.12 lakh acres in Karur, Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Pudukkottai districts.

Heeding their long-pending demand, the State government sanctioned the barrage with a road on top of it to link the banks of the river. The barrage-cum-road will link Mayanur on the right bank of the Cauvery with Seeppalapatti Pudhur in Tiruchi district on the left bank thereby effectively reducing a distance of 50 km.

Construction of the barrage commenced in February 2009 but work remained sluggish due to a plethora of factors, including technical design redrawing, cost escalation and financial crunch, encountered by the contractors at the initial stages. But expeditious clearing of hurdles, redesigning certain technical aspects that hampered the project and better fund flow ensured that the work gathered momentum in the past few months.

For the first time in the State, the PWD has deployed the pre stressed concrete beam structures for fabricating deck slabs to link piers. Of the 97 piers, all have been raised and completed up to the bed block level. The cut-off wall and diaphragm wall, as also the tow wall, on both the upstream and down stream sides have been completed. As for the abutment, wing wall and return have been completed while the launching apron works in the upstream side has seen 37 per cent progress and in the down stream side, 42 per cent work has been through. Laying of concrete cement block has been proceeding well on the downstream side where 90 per cent of the work has been completed while in the upstream side around 48 per cent has been over.

Work on post tensioned beams is at varying stages with 90 per cent casting work through and 47 per cent of the beams have been placed in position. Around 39 of the total 98 deck slabs have been completed to date, official sources say. In all, over 80 per cent of the work has been completed and the project might be over in August at the earliest, they say. So far, an amount of Rs. 190.63 crore out of the sanctioned Rs. 234 crore has been utilised.