Residents of Chengalpattu are forced to take a long detour to get to their destinations, as level crossing 1 on the Chengalpattu-Kancheepuram line has been closed for over two years now.

The highways department and Southern Railway are jointly executing work worth Rs. 31.44 crore, which has been delayed frequently, mainly due to the shifting of water lines.

K. Saravanan, an autorickshaw driver near the Chengalpattu bus stand, said that as the level crossing was closed, residents had to travel around 5 km extra, via Pulipakkam to get to where they wanted to go. “The work has been progressing very slowly. There are several schools in the area and the children are forced to walk quite a distance as vehicles don’t ply there,” he said.

V. Ganapthy, a resident of Vallam said that several necessary offices were located on the other side of the tracks. “The Taluk office is on the other side, as is the police station, several wedding halls and an LPG godown. It is very difficult to reach the Taluk office. We park our vehicles on this side and walk across. The highways department must speed up the work,” he said.

Though the department has already completed its work on the 550-metre road overbridge (ROB), the Southern Railway has only just begun its work. “We are waiting for the Railway’s span work to be completed. Residents have been complaining that the service lanes were not laid. We will finish that work soon. The ROB is expected to be completed by March 2013,” said a department source.

Even as residents say they have been put to trouble over one project, another ROB is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 43.92 crore at level crossing 54 in Chengalpattu. This project is also moving at a snail’s pace.

N. Govindasamy, a resident of the locality, said that the work has been going on for the past four years now. “We are wondering why both the projects are running concurrently. Some land acquisition problems have delayed the construction. We really need work on both the projects to be speeded up,” he said.

A source in the highways department said that Southern Railway had completed its work and the department had finished 75 per cent of its work. “There were many buildings in the alignment. “Only recently, an issue related to one building, which was obstructing the progress of the work, was resolved. It is likely to be knocked down in a month’s time. Four piers will come up on that spot. “This ROB will be completed by June 2013,” the official said.

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