The Otteri Nullah diversion channel project, which was dropped nearly two years ago, has been given a new lease of life.

Work on the long-pending project to construct a channel from Otteri Nullah canal to divert excess water and link with Cooum river began this week. The stretch of Third Avenue, Anna Nagar, has been barricaded for the purposes of this project and traffic, diverted.

The Rs.10 crore-project, which was proposed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, had to be dropped two years ago as the Water Resources Department (WRD) had trouble obtaining permissions from various departments to execute the work.

However, the department managed to get permission from the government departments for road cuts with a slight change in alignment and methodology. “We plan to save time on the busy Third Avenue by using precast structures. We want to complete the project in four months,” an official said.

The box-type channel, which will be built from the stretch near Anna Nagar K4 police station, will run up to a distance of 1.6 km and link with Cooum river near Brewery Road, Anna Nagar.

Residents of Anna Nagar welcomed the move but said work must be expedited as prolonged traffic diversions would worsen traffic chaos already in place owing to other development works.

Babu Jeyaram, a resident of Third Avenue, recalled that the apartments in the complex located along Otteri Nullah had been heavily flooded during rains in 2005. The canal had water flowing above its brim. The diversion channel would help take away the burden from the canal.

Officials said that Otteri Nullah has a capacity only to carry 1,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs). But, it carried 1,600 cusecs of flood water during floods in 2005. The proposed diversion channel will be four metre wide and two metre high.

Of the total distance of 11.68 km of Otteri Nullah, work to construct a flood protection wall has been completed in 6.5 km stretch. The canal has been widened up to 40 metre wherever possible. Notices have been issued in various areas, including Anna Nagar East, to over 30 structures that have encroached upon the canal’s bank. The entire project is expected to be completed by this year end.

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