Residents at Sadayankuppam, Thiruverkadu resort to temporary structures

The work on a bridge that would have made their lives much more convenient began two years ago. But even today, residents of Thiruverkadu are forced to use a narrow causeway to cross the Cooum as the work remains incomplete.

For residents in and around Sadayankuppam, a rickety wooden structure is their only option to cross the Buckingham canal. These two localities are just some of the few where work on vital infrastructure projects has been stalled as land acquisition has not been completed.

Highways Department officials said only 40 per cent of the projects have been completed due to this. For the Rs. 16.46 crore bridge at Sadayankuppam, 6,424 sq. mt of land is required and for the one at Thiruverkadu, 3,862 sq mt is needed.

Meanwhile, Sadayankuppam residents are fed up with using the crumbling bridge. “We only travel this way because this offers us a shorter route to the bus stand. Otherwise, we would have to cross Burma Colony,” said Balakrishnan, a resident. Even this path often involves trudging through slush and slime, especially during the rains. “The structure gets washed away during floods almost every year. And there is no lighting either. But we have no other option but to walk on the canal bank to reach homes,” said K. Muthulakshmi, who works at a construction site.

Chennai Corporation Ward 16 councillor K.Thangasivam said that residents of Manali New Town, Burma Nagar and Sadayankuppam would greatly benefit from the bridge. “It would save them at least 4 km of travel,” he said. The two-lane bridge with 7.5 mt carriageway would be more than a kilometre long including its two approaches. Work on this facility at Sadayankuppam that connects the village with Manali Oil Refinery Road commenced in February this year.

At Thiruverkadu, work on one abutment has commenced and pier caps have been constructed. The first contract was foreclosed and another contractor took up the work in July this year. Of the six spans, work is in progress on five of them. The last one is inside land that has to be acquired. Work on the NH5 side can be taken up only if land acquisition is completed.

Residents of Thiruverkadu said that they are still using the narrow causeway to reach Velappanchavadi junction on Poonamallee High Road from Sridevi Karumariamman Temple Road, Thiruverkadu. The causeway is only seven metres wide and they have to bear with traffic congestion during peak hours.

Though work worth nearly Rs.5 crore was started under the Comprehensive Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme, construction of a bridge adjacent the causeway is progressing at a snail’s pace, residents said.

K.Damodaran of Sakthivel Nagar, Thiruverkadu, said: “The causeway has been damaged many times during floods. It becomes difficult to negotiate the causeway whenever there is a heavy flow in the river. We otherwise have to take a detour of three or four km through neighbouring localities of Madharavedu, Kaduvetti and Sundaracholapuram to reach the arterial road.”

Even the road via Madharavedu often gets congested as people who visit the temple park their vehicles along the road, he said.

The project, to construct an 88-metre-long and 12-m-wide bridge with footpath, was proposed to be completed in a year, residents said.

Another work that is awaiting land acquisition is the widening of Vanagaram- Ambattur - Puzhal Road. Around 500 mts of work has been put on hold. Similarly, a new link road in Puzhal awaits assistance from the Revenue authorities for identifying lands that had been frozen for the creation of a road.

“We have asked the Tiruvallur district administration to speed up the process to acquire lands. The Thiruverkadu bridge work began in 2010 and they were notified at that time itself about the work,” said a source in the Highways Department.

When contacted, the Tiruvallur Collector said that the land acquisition would be speeded up for these projects.

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