Fifteen minutes seem too long a time when you wait at a railway gate, watching trains pass and two-wheelers sliding through the space under the barrier.

At the Pattarawakkam railway crossing on the Tiruvallur line, gate closures happen quite often. Within a span of half-an-hour, the gate closes and opens twice, and in five minutes, 75 two-wheelers cross the barrier.

Now, the gate, which connects Ambattur Industrial estate with Karukku, an area in Ambattur, is being replaced with a Rs. 35-crore road overbridge. The highways department and Southern Railway are jointly constructing the two-lane 1.15-km-long facility that takes off from behind the Aavin dairy in Ambattur.

Sources in the highways department said around 80 per cent of the work that commenced in May 2011 had been completed.

“Nineteen of the 21 spans have been completed, the approach road on one side has been laid and bituminous tar layer would be spread in 10 days’ time. A small portion of land for the landing on the Karukku side is required. A proposal in this regard is with the government for approval,” the official said.

The overbridge is likely to bring cheer to many commuters who use this stretch frequently.

M. Ravi of Andal Fabricators in Karukku said sometimes the gate remained closed for over an hour causing extreme discomfort to residents and employees of the industrial estate nearby.

“We bring materials from Padi for our firm and if there is a delay our work gets affected. Earlier, a few buses used to operate in this area, but now, the services have stopped,” he said.

The railways’ share of the work is likely to be completed in two months’ time.

“No construction has happened over the four railway lines at the crossing. They have a small portion but the work has only just begun. If the work is speeded up, it will save us time and fuel,” said E. Suresh, who runs a real estate agency in Karukku.

Since the Karukku main road, which leads to fast developing residential areas, is narrow, the highways department decided to land the flyover a little away from this main road. The local banyan tree, which also served as a bus stop, was the selected spot.

Highways sources said the work is likely to be completed by September. Residents of Karukku, Kallikuppam, Menambedu, Ambattur and Korattur would benefit from the road overbridge.

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