In the last two months, the Highways Department has spent close to Rs. 60 lakh to restore the Anna Arch which, under an earlier plan, was to have been demolished to make way for a flyover.
The amount includes the cost of painting the twin structures and installing focus lights. In early October, the State government decided to retain the arch which was constructed in 1986, to commemorate the platinum jubilee of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai. Repair work was then taken up.
Sources in the department said Rs. 2 lakh would be spent on focus lamps. “The pedestal of the statue of Annadurai too will be repaired. We have already tested the focus lamps. They are light blue and yellow and they make the arches looks very pretty in the dark,” the source said.
Painting work on one of the arches, which had been damaged when efforts were made to pull it down, has been completed. The signs of damages on either side are now gone. Sthapathi work including the fixing of flowers and birds was completed before the painting was taken up. Half of the painting on the other arch has also been completed and the cribs are likely to be removed in two days. The supports holding up the arch have already been removed. The entire work is to be completed by Saturday.
Six different colours are being used to paint the various features of the arch. The lettering on the arch is being painted in dark green, the bud on top is being painted brick red, the leaves are in apple green and there are light and dark shades of pink and ivory on the arch.
When it was being pulled down, the arch potion had been cut off from the pedestal in one arch. It took a month of non-stop work to restore it. The steel rods inside the structure of the arch were also repaired and strengthened.