The proposed project at Perungalathur has already been approved by State government
Each time the level crossing gate next to the Perungalathur railway station closes, the vehicle pile-up on the Grand Southern Trunk Road to Tiruchi only grows. “It takes us up to an hour-and-a-half to get to the other side. The gate opens at least twice during that time. The only solution to this is a flyover or subway at the point,” said former Perungalathur councillor D. Jebadurai.
Plans to construct a road overbridge with a rotary on the top and an arm descending into the Eastern bypass replacing level crossing 32 and a pedestrian subway at the adjacent level crossing 33 at a total cost of Rs.76 crore are pending.
The State Highways Department had drawn up the proposals as early as 2009 and had written to the National Highways Authority of India seeking their No Objection Certificate. “We wrote to them again in January this year, but we are still to hear from them. The State government had cleared the projects,” said an official of the Highways Department.
“Residents of two town panchayats -- Perungalathur and Peerkankaranai – use the level crossings and in the last 15 years, the areas have witnessed enormous development. It's a daily struggle for school children and those proceeding to office. The NHAI proposal to make the road into an 8-lane facility seems to be too ambitious. They would have to remove a railway track for this,” said S.Krishnan, a resident of RMK Nagar in Perungalathur. Sources in the Highways Department said their drawings had been made keeping in mind the widening of the GST. Land acquisition is being done accordingly, the official said.
Two other projects replacing level crossings along the GST Road that are in various stages of construction are also awaiting NOC from the NHAI. At least 30 per cent of work has been completed at LC 47 at Singaperumal Koil. It would be a road over bridge with a rotary on top.
The Rs. 52 crore project commenced a year ago and is expected to be completed in September 2013. However, sources said that the NHAI has asked for change of design as in future, the GST Road is expected to be widened into an 8-lane facility. Presently, the NHAI is the process of finalising the detailed project report for 6-laning it.
Another project to construct a road overbridge at a cost of Rs.34 crore at Urapakkam/Kilambakkam is 90 per cent complete and work is underway only in the railway portion. There are eight tamarind trees that need to be removed for the bridge to be connected to the GST Road.
P.Selvaraj, a resident of Urapakkam recalled how 10 years back, there was an incident of a person with chest pain dying while waiting for the gate to be opened. On the proposal to widen the GST Road, he said it was a welcome move, but care must be taken to not disturb the residential areas during land acquisition.