Land acquisition to be completed soon; project to be ready within 24 months

The residents of Lalgudi can heave a sigh of relief as work on the construction of the flyover across the level-crossing in the town has resumed after being suspended for two years.

The project took off in 2010 but came to a halt about 18 months ago because of problems in land acquisition, litigations, and the contractor’s decision to pull out.

Sources in the Highways Department said a fresh contract had been awarded for carrying out the remaining portion of the project work and the “bhumi puja” for the work was performed on Monday.

Although the bridge would fulfil the felt need of residents of the town, about 20 km from here, traders opposed the move to acquire their land for laying service roads as it would lead to their displacement and took the issue to the court.

Fourteen cases were filed by different persons against the proposed acquisition of land for service lanes and traffic island near the bus stand. All of them were dismissed by the Madurai Bench of the Madurai High Court.

The bridge would run for 500 metres and provide an important link between the bus stand and the southern parts of the town.

The project came to a halt with just about six of the 19 spans of the bridge having been built when the contractor pulled out, opting for foreclosure after the 24-month period, apparently in view of the problems in land acquisition and cost escalation.

Partially built pillars and pits dug up at the site gave a torrid time for commuters in the town. Traversing the arterial road in the town became a tortuous ride, much worse than the trouble of having to wait in long queues whenever the railway gates are closed on the busy Tiruchi-Chennai section.

Forty four trains pass through Lalgudi and every time the gate is closed for nearly 15 minutes, compounding the problem.

Highways Department sources said the land acquisition process was expected to be completed soon. However, construction of the bridge has resumed.

The project would be completed in 24 months, they said.