As part of its efforts to reduce congestion on Poonamallee High Road, the Highways Department has begun construction of a Rs. 8-crore three-lane bridge across Cooum river connecting Aminjikarai and Anna Nagar.

At present, there are two bridges - an old three-lane composite girder bridge and a three-lane bridge constructed recently. “The new bridge will be completed in about 18 months,” said highways officials.

“The work order for the 60 m-long bridge was issued in February. We are trying to speed up the work so that the bridge is ready in a year,” a senior official said.

However, the proposed structure is part of a larger design to ease traffic from Koyambedu to Chennai Central, two major entry points in the city visited by lakhs of people every day.

“As the old bridge is a weak structure, it will be demolished in future to make way for a four-lane bridge, providing ten lanes for traffic users,” said the official.

Meanwhile, a detailed project report is also underway for an elevated corridor on Poonamallee High Road running to nearly seven km and crossing several junctions from Rajah Muthiah Salai near Ripon Buildings to Pulla Reddy Avenue in Aminjikarai.

“The proposal had not been pursued since CMRL has a tunnel running beneath the road. But now, we have again taken it up and a consultant is studying various options as the project would help decongest the road,” explained an official.

S. Madhuri, a resident of Anna Nagar, who welcomed the widening of the bridge, said the government must take steps to widen other narrow stretches in the road too if congestion is to be reduced. “Traffic moves very slowly on either side of the bridge. The road has several bottle-necks. Vendors take up footpath space forcing pedestrians to walk on the road,” she said.

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