Delay in the work has emerged as obstacle to widening of road; residents struggle
For those having commercial establishments or living in areas adjacent to the Taramani Link Road, driving or commuting on the three-lane facility is a harrowing experience.
Work to widen the road that connects Rajiv Gandhi Salai, popularly known as OMR, and Vijaynagar Junction in Velachery has been delayed due to the time taken to construct a diversion canal. The canal will carry excess rainwater from Veerangal Odai to South Buckingham canal, covering an entire side of the road.
S. Rajkumar, a resident of Taramani, said that since only three lanes were available for all the traffic on that road, travelling required a lot more time. “The work has been on for at least five years now. One half of the road has been kept closed from SRP Tools Junction to the signal beyond the American School though the work has been completed. The opening of that stretch will bring some relief for residents. Beyond the spot, where works are being carried out, the road surface is in a bad condition. If the stretch is improved, it will help,” he said.
The road is being improved by the Highways Department with World Bank funds. However, midway the Water Resources Department (WRD) started work on the canal under the Jawahalal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. Since they struck rock, the work is progressing slowly. The works have not only led to traffic chaos but also caused hardship to local businesses.
Mohammed Sikkander Khan, who runs MK Power Tools at the Bharathi Nagar junction, said that many businesses had been hit by the work. “Our business has been badly affected as there is only a small opening to reach our shop. Our work mainly involves repairing power tools that companies bring. Now, because of the condition of the road, companies don’t bring them. I have to bring them here, repair them and take them back. On either side of the road, there are large ditches into which people risk falling in. There are iron rods inside these ditches,” he said. Mr. Khan also said that accidents keep happening as there is hardly enough space for vehicles and pedestrians.
Sources in the WRD said that only about 50 per cent of the work of constructing the canal has been completed so far. The department, which was to complete construction of a 4.1-km-long canal, has taken over two years to lay just 2 km. The Rs. 58.15 crore-waterway was proposed to prevent flooding in Vijaya Nagar and other areas. It would carry 600 cubic feet of water per second. Several issues such as cables getting dug up and intrusion of hard rocks during digging for the project have delayed the work.
“We lost more than a year in shifting underground cables such as electricity and telephones. Water pipelines and stormwater drains also came in the way of the canal alignment. We spent about Rs.15 crore towards shifting of cables,” the official added.
The department plans to complete the work by June next year. Once the work is over, the road would be upgraded to a six-lane facility.