11-km long stretch to benefit commuters in north Chennai

Residents of several parts of north Chennai need not vie for space with heavy vehicles on congested roads in a few months.

People will soon get a respite from travelling in inching traffic on important roads of north Chennai as the Water Resources Department (WRD) plans to lay a road along north Buckingham canal, for a distance of nearly 11 km.

The department is awaiting approval for the Rs. 9-crore project from the Central government. The 17.3 km-long canal extends from near the Central railway station to Ennore creek.

Besides a 1.5 km stretch at Bharathi Nagar, Korukkupet, the road will be developed between IOC and Kargil Nagar, Tiruvottiyur, and between Manali expressway and Sadayankuppam, for nearly 5 km each.

The department had formed a mud road on the canal bank to facilitate inspection of the ongoing improvement works taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Officials of the WRD said that residents of adjoining localities are already using the mud road to reach nearby areas. “We decided to develop the mud track into a road as it will serve as a short route connecting various localities, including Kodungaiyur and Satyamurthy Nagar,” said an official.

Residents, at present, have to take a circuitous route to reach other locations. V. Satish, a resident of Washermenpet, said that many motorists have to vie for space with heavy vehicles on Manali Expressway and Ennore High Road and also wait for long hours in traffic jams. “If the road along the canal is laid, residents from localities close to the canal can travel without any hassles. It will bring down the detour taken by three or four km,” he said.

Officials of the Special Projects Circle, WRD, said that the seven-metre wide road would also prevent mushrooming of further encroachments along the canal.

Of the 2,000 encroachments on the canal, there are over 500 structures on the stretch near Elephant Gate alone. A biometric survey has been carried out and the findings forwarded to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. Once alternate houses are allocated, a compound wall would be constructed at vulnerable points to prevent further encroachments.

Once the approval is obtained, the work would be started in January and completed in a month. The WRD would maintain the road.

On the improvement works, officials said that a retaining wall for a length of 10 km has been nearly completed and work is on to complete the remaining 500 metre stretch at Ezhil Nagar, Kodungaiyur. The width of the canal bed, which was previously only 15 m, has been increased to between 25 m and 40 m to alleviate flooding in neighbouring localities.

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