Residents of KVK Kuppam and Nethaji Nagar — fishing hamlets in north Chennai — are demanding that portions of the damaged seawall along Ennore Expressway be reconstructed.
Though the villagers station their 100-odd country boats and fibre reinforced-plastic boats at these openings, they are keen that repairs are taken up.
“We require only small openings in the wall to get access to the sea. But some of them have become quite big. If not for a proper sea wall, the sea would advance further inland. Several villages have been swallowed by the sea ever since Chennai Port came up,” said K. Anjappan of KVK Kuppam.
The seawall was damaged during cyclones Thane and Nilam. “During high tides or when the sea is rough, the waves come dangerously close to the road. There are breaks in the seawall at three places and unless repaired, the beach road could be affected. One major opening is near a curve and there is no service lane or wall at that spot making driving risky,” said V. Rajkumar, a resident of Tiruvottiyur, who uses the road.
Prabhakar, a resident of Nethaji Nagar, said that the repairs must be completed before the monsoon. “Very high waves are observed during cyclones. Last year, during Nilam, there was not much damage to the city but large masses of water had lashed onto the road and spoilt the surface. Unless that work is completed, the road would be damaged repeatedly. Along with repairing of the seawall, the authorities should also consider construction of groynes, which would help sand build up and also break the force of the waves,” he said.
Sources in the National Highways Authority of India said that work to rehabilitate the seawall will soon be taken up at a cost of Rs. 8 crore.
As of now, work to construct three groynes and repair 10 existing groynes is on. Ennore Expressway is part of the Rs. 600 crore Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project to improve and widen Manali Oil Refinery Road (5.6km), Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti Road (9 km) and northern portion of Inner Ring Road (7 km) and the Ennore Expressway (5.9 km).
The project deadline has been pushed from June this year to October due to various stumbling blocks including shifting of residents of NTO Kuppam and Cherian Nagar and shifting of electric poles on MORR.