Litigation and poor response to railway’s tender delay Oyamari Road bridge

An ownership dispute over a piece of land and the hold-up in the construction of a portion of bridge on the railway land threaten to delay the road over bridge (ROB) coming up along the Cauvery banks at Odathurai in the city.

The bridge proposed to connect the Chinthamani area of the city with the Chennai bypass was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 28.50 crore.

As was the procedure, the railways had taken up construction of the bridge on its land at the site and the Highways Department was entrusted with the task of building the rest of the structure. The project that took off in March 2010 faced several glitches right from the word go and has overshot its scheduled completion date in March 2012.

Although one half of the bridge towards the Chennai Bypass on Oyamari Road has been built, the work was suspended for several months last year pending completion of the land acquisition on the city side. The Highways Department resumed work after taking possession of the site only in January this year.

The department has since resumed the work in full swing on the city side, but indications are that it could be several months before the crucial link is completed in view of two, though, unrelated problems — litigation over a land dispute and the railways decision to terminate its contract to build the bridge portion on its land.

The litigation (between an individual and the HR and CE Department) on a dispute over the ownership of a piece of land at the project site has prevented the Highways Department from erecting a pile for the bridge on the city side.

The Highways Department has now impleaded itself in the case before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

The piece of land comes under the area that was identified for acquisition and the Highways Department has deposited the compensation for the same with the Revenue Department.

The department has sought permission to allow it to take up the work at the disputed site, pending the disposal of the csse and payment of compensation.

According to sources, the railways had terminated the contract several months ago allegedly because of the poor progress made in the work by the contractor and called for a fresh tender.

But the process of finalising the tender had been delayed as the tender attracted only one bidder.

Only after the bridge on the railway land was built, the Highways Department could construct the adjacent spans on either side. The Highways Department has been hoping to finish the project by the end of December or latest by January. But that would depend on how soon the two pending issues are resolved.