A delay in shifting the utility lines in Ambattur has pushed the deadline of a project to improve the surplus course of major water bodies, by over a year.

The Rs. 19.63-crore project, being executed by the Water Resources Department (WRD) under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, was slated to be completed by August this year.

However, the work, which entails construction of a bridge across the surplus channel, linking the water bodies in Ambattur and Korattur, has been delayed owing to the time taken in shifting underground electricity cables.

“We remitted a deposit for shifting the utility lines in July this year. However, Tangedco authorities are waiting for materials and the tendering process is set to take one or two months,” said a WRD official.

The project also includes the construction of a box culvert in Ambattur Industrial Estate and upgrading a causeway into a bridge.

Residents and industrial unit holders meanwhile, are forced to travel on the dusty causeway, which links Aavin Dairy Road in the industrial estate and Korattur. Though the temporary road constructed by the WRD has eased traffic, road widening and a bridge are sorely needed here.

The department has now sought additional funds and changed the project’s design to complete it. Officials of the WRD said that necessary changes have been made in the revised detailed project report, and clearance has been sought from the Central government.

Residents and industrial unit holders have demanded that the project be expedited, as the traffic has increased over the years. Nearly 6,000 vehicles, including lorries to Aavin dairy and industrial units, as well as MTC buses, ply on the road daily.

S. Priyanka, a resident of Korattur, said that motorists often risk accidents while manoeuvring through the narrow causeway, particularly in the night, owing to a lack of street illumination.

The causeway has now become a crucial link, as people entering the estate from the elevated corridor take the Dairy Road to avoid the congested Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road.

Officials of the WRD said that the design had been modified to facilitate three-lane traffic on the proposed bridge instead of the original plan which envisaged two lanes, following a demand from residents. The bridge will be 45 metres long and 10.5 metres wide. Once the lines are shifted, the work will be completed in two or three months, they added.

Similarly, an 840 metre box culvert with a double vent is being constructed from First Street in the north phase of the estate to alleviate inundation whenever the Ambattur lake is full. This will carry nearly 1,800 cubic feet of water per second, which would otherwise flood the estate, and go waste. This project is set to provide respite to adjoining residential areas and many units that are under sheets of water during the rains and remain closed for several days.

Besides this work that is nearing completion, improvement of another arm of the surplus channel is also waiting for utility lines to be shifted. “We plan to blacktop the road at a cost of Rs. 62 lakh in the finished portion. This part of the work is likely to be completed in mid-January,” said an official.

The entire project to reduce flooding in the areas near Ambattur is expected to be finished by June next year.

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