The WRD has roped in institutions such as IIT-Madras and Anna University to prepare a detailed project report to construct groynes for four km between Ernavoorkuppam and Ennore.

Residents of fishing hamlets along Ennore Expressway may soon be relieved of the worry that the sea will wash away their villages. The Water Resources Department (WRD) has set the ball rolling on a project to reclaim the shrinking shoreline.

The department has roped in institutions such as IIT-Madras and Anna University to prepare a detailed project report to construct groynes — a collection of boulders laid perpendicular to the shoreline — for four km between Ernavoorkuppam and Ennore.

Though large portion of the 19-km-long Ennore Expressway is protected by the seawall, construction of more groynes on vulnerable stretches is necessary to reclaim the shoreline in the long run, said officials of WRD.

Fishing hamlets, including Nettukuppam and Chinnakuppam, will benefit from the project as groynes will control sea incursion and also reduce the deposit of sand at Ennore creek.

J. Desappan of Nettukuppam said his livelihood has been affected as he was unable to venture into sea due to heavy sand deposits at the creek. “We had suggested that the seawall built in our village curve towards the sea to prevent the silting up of the creek. But, it was not carried out. The government must speed up the project,” he said.

While the Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-Madras, will design the project with details on location of groynes, behaviour of waves and sedimentation, the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Anna University, will map the coastline with a detailed account of the impact of high and low tide lines.

S.S. Ramakrishnan, IRS director, Anna University, said the mapping of the wave action on surrounding areas will indicate the distance up to which coastal lands can be developed. It will help get environmental clearance under Coastal Regulation Zone regulations.

The team from IIT-Madras has already completed a bathymetry survey, which includes contours of the sea and intensity of wave action. P.K. Suresh, who is co-ordinating the project with IIT-M, said the information from the survey will be used to identify locations and length of groynes to be built.

“We will also conduct model studies to assess the stability of the groynes,” he said.

Officials of the WRD said once the project is implemented, residents of north Chennai may enjoy more beaches along the Ennore Expressway. The detailed project report is expected to be ready in two or three months.