A delay in acquiring land for the proposed flyover has pushed project past deadline; may take another year

Construction of the elevated metro rail station in Vadapalani may be progressing swiftly, but the proposed flyover that will go right beneath it might take at least a year to materialise. A delay in acquisition of land has pushed the flyover project past deadline.

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The Arcot Road-Jawaharlal Nehru Salai junction at Vadapalani is one of the most dreaded traffic bottlenecks in the city. Well before the metro rail project began, the highways department had conceived of a flyover on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai to ease the congestion.

However, once the metro project began, the area was seen as an ideal spot for a station as well. The idea of integrating the facilities was born soon after, as experts from both, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) and Highways Department felt that a combined facility was more feasible in terms of design and cost.

While CMRL will build the via duct portion of the flyover, Highways Department is bearing the cost of its construction, estimated at Rs. 34 crore. “We have already paid CMRL one instalment of Rs. 30 crore,” said an official of the highways department.

While the revenue department was supposed to complete the process of land acquisition in three revenue villages — 2200 sq mt in Kodambakkam, 400 sq mt Puliyur and 400 sq mt in Vadapalani — by October 2011, but is still dragging on.

Challenges in land acquisition included convincing trustees of Vengeeswarar temple to part with a portion of the temple's land. Since they refused to part with a portion of their land, some design modifications had to be made to enable the project to move ahead, according a highways department official.

“Nearly 40 per cent of the piling work for the flyover is complete. We will get the land in a month and from then, the construction of the flyover will not take more than a year,” he said.

Some land belonging to the Vadapalani police station is also being acquired for the flyover. Once the flyover is constructed, motorists going to Arcot Road will be saved the trouble of taking a detour before the junction, and could instead take the main road till the junction and turn left into Arcot Road.

The flyover will be used mostly by buses plying to other towns and cities, while city buses will take a short detour to drop off and pick up passengers at the metro station, according to CMRL officials.

The integrated facility, which will look like a double-decker structure, seeks to minimise traffic jams, and also to enable easy access to the metro station. Design-wise this station will be unique, with the highest elevation along the stretch from Koyambedu to St. Thomas Mount. The Vadapalani metro station will be at a height of over 60 feet, while other elevated stations will be over 40 feet. Meanwhile, workers began laying the tracks for the station at midnight on Monday. “We did a pooja this evening and workers will start laying the tracks on concrete at midnight,” a CMRL official told The Hindu.

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