This week, the city will finally see the resurgence of a long-delayed project — the construction of stormwater drains across 20 key stretches.
The traffic police, who had concerns about the digging up of roads “fearing traffic congestion”, has now given the Chennai Corporation permission to resume work on the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission-funded project.
Devised by the Corporation and the Public Works Department, the project is a comprehensive flood-management plan aimed at reducing inundation in seven zones across the city, before the next monsoon.
Its original estimated cost was Rs. 1447.91 crore, but now, even after dropping several stretches from its ambit and due to delays, will cost Rs. 1475.43 crore.
Roads that have been accorded sanction include TTK Road, Eldams Road, Kalki Krishnamurthy Salai, Dr. Muthulakshmi Salai, New Avadi Road, Cooks Road, MTH Road, Prakasam Salai, Anna Pillai Street and Pulianthope High Road.
Stretches likely to have traffic diverted on them in the next few weeks include: the stretch linking Kalakshetra Main Road to Thiruvanmiyur signal; Third Avenue Indira Nagar to West Avenue; LB Road First Street to Third Avenue Indira Nagar Adyar Signal to First Avenue Sastri Nagar; Villivakkam Bus Stand to MTH Road; Perambur High Road to Otteri Nullah and Davidson Street to Mint Street.
Corporation officials said work will begin this week on a stretch spanning 8 km, and will be done round-the-clock. However, heavy machinery will only be deployed in the night.
For the last few years, the city traffic police had been stalling work on the drains, by towing vehicles of contractors involved in the project. This had led to a series of tussles between the police and Corporation engineers at several work sites across the city.
Several contractors apparently stopped work due to a restriction the police imposed, which only allowed them to work for four hours in the night along many stretches. The contractors wanted permission to work for at least eight hours.
In January, the civic body had extended its deadline for the completion of the project, citing reasons including the monsoon, scarcity of sand, police restrictions and the difficulty in shifting utility lines. The extension of the deadline was accepted by the Corporation Council.
Last week, at a meeting between Corporation officials and the traffic police, several of these long-pending issues were sorted out. Now, the Corporation wants to get the work done before the next monsoon begins.
However, some traffic restriction will continue to be imposed, along some stretches, as work across all the roads simultaneously would require massive traffic diversions, officials said.