Vehicles can take the facility and avoid travelling over the 69-year-old dam

Residents of villages in the vicinity of Poondi reservoir may get a new transport facility in two months.

The Water Resources Department is building a causeway across Kosasthalaiyar river, nearly 350 metre downstream of the Satyamurthy Sagar dam, Poondi reservoir. This causeway is meant to be an alternative to the route taken by vehicles on the dam, which threatens its safety.

Residents of 25 villages around Poondi reservoir will get to travel on the 146 metre-long and 5 metre-wide causeway being constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.86 crore.

Nearly 200 vehicles, including Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses, ply on the dam daily. The dam connects Poondi with villages such as Rangapuram, Ariyathur, Bangarupettai, Ramalingapuram, Thomur and Nambakkam.

V. Durai, a resident of Poondi, said that whenever traffic was diverted from the dam during monsoon, residents either had to travel via Ramanjeri or take a detour of 20-25 km through Tiruttani Road.

Officials of the WRD said that the residents would be able to use the causeway even during heavy rains. The facility will not submerge even if 50,000 cubic feet per second of water is released from the dam as it is built two metres above level of the Kosasthalaiyar riverbed. “The main structure is almost ready. We are forming approach roads to the causeway on either sides of Poondi and Rangapuram. Pedestrians have already started using the facility,” an official said.

Once the causeway is built, traffic will not be allowed on the dam and gates will be erected to restrict vehicle movement. The continuous plying of vehicles may weaken the 69-year-old concrete masonry dam.

The department plans to start work to repair the damaged shutters of the reservoir, which is vital to store water for Chennai. Emergency shutters were installed to fix the leaks in four of the 16 floodgates.

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