To improve connectivity between the East Coast Road (ECR) and Rajiv Gandhi Salai, three bridges will be constructed across the south Buckingham Canal.
The bridges are to be built at Neelankarai, Palavakkam and Kottivakkam. The State highways department will execute these works as part of a project for widening roads between the two roads so as to help development in those areas as well.
Though it has been over a decade since ECR was developed and at least five years since Rajiv Gandhi Salai, also known as Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), was formed, connectivity between these major roads has remained poor.
“Thiruvanmiyur and Sholinganallur are 10 km away and there are no connecting roads in between. There are just a few culverts that carry pedestrians and two-wheelers across the canal,” said G. Sathish, a resident of Sholinganallur.
According to sources in the highways department, encroachments along the waterway would be removed. Work on the bridges is likely to commence by March 2013. The facility at Neelankarai would have four lanes, and the other two bridges would have two lanes each. The sub soil in the canal is being tested for strength.
Once that is done, the design for the bridges would be taken up. Three roads leading to the bridges would be widened in the second phase.
Residents said widening of interior roads would help reduce traffic at Sholinganallur and Thoraipakkam junctions, which get clogged during rush hour.
“We need connecting roads at least every three kilometres. Vehicles going from Pallavaram, Chromepet, and GST Road towards ECR can go via these connecting roads,” said Abhirami Kannan, a resident of Thoraipakkam.
“If the bridges are constructed, it would help improve connectivity. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has already frozen development along the road in Neelankarai, where a detailed survey of lands is to be taken up,” said a source in the highways department.
The State government has provided administrative sanction for a detailed project report for the roads.
In Palavakkam, two existing roads have been identified for improvement. They are 12 metres wide and would get white topping to prevent water logging. Duct facilities, among other things, will be provided on the roads.