Thanks to last week’s rain, one of the city’s oldest landmarks – the twin ornamental arches in Anna Nagar – was given a reprieve of a few more days.
But this weekend, the arches will make way for two flyovers that are coming up at the junction at a cost of Rs. 117 crore.
Residents who are used to using the structures as guideposts on their regular route home, are bound to miss their bus stops if they aren’t careful. When the arch is pulled down by the Highways Department, many bus passengers will only find a void there.
“When the work began and they cut down the huge tress at the junction, we missed them. Now it is the turn of the arch to go,” said K. Vanya, who changes buses at the Arch bus stop.
Using diamond cutters and two cranes, the contractor will start from the top and remove portions of the arch. “We had planned to demolish the structure last week, but the rains delayed us. The police have now permitted us to carry out the work on Saturday and Sunday nights. This is the first time we are attempting something like this,” said an source in the department.
The arch was constructed by the Madras Corporation at a cost of Rs. 12 lakh to commemorate the platinum jubilee of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai. It was inaugurated on January 1, 1986, by the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran.
It is 57-feet high and was checked for structural stability in order to withstand cyclones. The arches were designed by Ganapathy Sthapathi and completed in a span of just 105 days.
The Highways Department has taken steps to make an exact replica of the arches and will install them on 3 Avenue near the bridge over the Cooum River. “The arch is made of cement and is called sudhai. We have taken photographs from every possible angle and have even asked the Corporation for design drawings. We have also spoken to the contractor who constructed it. The new arches will be designed in such a way that they withstand earthquakes too, as Chennai is in seismic zone 3 now,” said an official.