Restoration of the damaged side of the Anna arch began on Wednesday, with the Highways Department commencing work to stack around 400 steel cribs beneath the arch. The cribs would bear the weight of the arch, which is estimated to weigh around 100 tonnes.

Grooves would be dug in the ground, in which concrete would be poured and left to set. In two days, the cribs would be stacked in the grooves and the crane supporting the arch would be released.

The sides of the one of the arches were cut when the department attempted to remove it to make way for a Rs. 117-crore flyover.

However, the State government decided to retain the arches and directed the Highways to repair and restore them. It had announced that work would commence on Wednesday. Yesterday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inspected the arch and ascertained from officials the mode of work to be taken up.

Sources in the Highways said that cuts would be made one metre above and below the present cuts. The iron rods would then be replaced and stronger concrete would jacket the spot. Also, as part of the restoration, small cracks in both the arches would be patched up and vegetation removed. Both the arches would get a fresh coat of paint.

It would take four months for the work to be completed, sources said.

The arches, constructed to mark the platinum jubilee of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai, were inaugurated by the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran in 1986.

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