The 2,200-metre-long channel, with a changed design, will divert excess water from Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal to Cooum river

After much meticulous planning and a change in design, the long-pending project to construct a diversion channel that will carry water from Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal to Cooum river has finally started.

Residents of areas, including Koyambedu, Chinmaya Nagar and Virugambakkam, who face the constant threat of flooding during monsoon may get a respite once the work taken up by the Water Resources Department (WRD) is completed.

The project, which was devised nearly four years ago, underwent a change in design to avoid traffic-related problems in busy Koyambedu, especially around the wholesale market complex and mofussil bus terminus.

Apart from work to improve the canal itself, the project involves the construction of a 2,200-metre-long channel to divert excess water of 400 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from the canal to Cooum river.

Doing away with the earlier plan to construct the entire channel on Kaliamman Koil Street and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, the department has now started work on the premises of the sewage treatment plant owned by Chennai Metrowater. As a major portion of the channel would be built inside the STP, there would be no interruption to traffic flow, said an official.

The diversion channel will travel via Metrowater STP, near CMBT on Kaliamman Koil Street, Koyambedu and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai and cross Poonamallee High Road to join the Cooum.

Residents recalled that surplus water from the Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal along with rain water flooded the area during rains, forcing them to move out till the water drained. On several occasions, flood water had entered their houses.

Residents said the projects to desilt the canal and improve its carrying capacity as well as the construction of the diversion channel should be expedited.

Officials of the WRD said the project involved co-ordination of various departments such as Highways, Chennai Corporation, Chennai Metrowater and CMBT. This had led to the delay in starting the work under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), they said.

“We expect the work to be completed at a fast pace as the construction of the four-metre-wide and two-metre-high channel would involve the use of precast structures,” said an official. Work is set to be completed in one year.

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