Residents of Virugambakkam and Arumbakkam may finally have a respite from flooding this year. The long-pending project to build a channel to carry excess water from Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal to Cooum river is proceeding at a significant pace.

Of the total distance of 2,400 metres, building the channel on Kaliamman Koil Street and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai for a stretch of 650 metres is proving a challenging task for the Water Resources Department.

The project design was changed to help residents escape flooding and enable work without hindering traffic on the busy area that houses mofussil bus terminus and wholesale market complex. Residents said the work has not affected traffic so far though the stretch is usually choc-a-bloc with vehicles. Officials of the WRD said a major portion of the channel has been built on the premises of Chennai’s Metrowater sewage treatment plant. The Rs. 30-crore diversion channel will travel via Metrowater STP, near CMBT on Kaliamman Koil Street, Koyambedu and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai and across Poonamallee High Road to join the Cooum river.

“We have completed constructing the channel for a distance of 1,300 metres. The remaining portion will now have to be built on the arterial roads,” said an official.

Instead of constructing the entire channel on the site, the department plans to place box-type structures at the point where the channel crosses the Koyambedu junction. “As it is a busy junction, we have to work only during nights. A large water pipeline, sewer lines, electricity and BSNL cables run beneath the junction. We plan to cover 5 metres every night and relay the road portion on the same day. The work will be finished in two months,” he said.

The department plans to complete the entire project by September before the northeast monsoon.

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