The present width of Rajaji Salai here will be maintained even after construction of the proposed Tamil Nadu Assembly’s Diamond Jubilee Memorial Arch between Fort St.George and the War Memorial, the government submitted before the Madras High Court on Thursday.

Its response came when a public interest litigation petition seeking to restrain the authorities from erecting the arch came up for further hearing before a Division Bench comprising Justices R.Banumathi and K.K.Sasidharan.

The petitioner, M.S.Arasa Kumar, said the proposed construction would violate the Tamil Nadu Highways Act. Rajaji Salai was the only road in the city which did not have heavy traffic congestion. It was being used by all VVIPs.

In the counter filed through the Special Government Pleader, I.S.Inbathurai, the Deputy Secretary, PWD, C.Subramanian, said the clear height of the arch from the road surface would be 6.50 metres, which was higher than the stipulated mandatory clearance required for these kind of structures. The pillars supporting the arch on both sides have been proposed on the pavement. There would be an opening inside the pillars on both sides to facilitate pedestrian movement. There would not be any intermediate pillar in the middle of the road. The present road width of 18.70 metre would be maintained even after the construction of the arch to facilitate free flow of undivided four lane traffic.

The counter said arches were constructed to commemorate any historic event. There were several examples for erecting the structures.

Rajaji Salai belonged to Chennai Corporation. Hence, the question of applicability of the T.N.Highways Act did not arise. The civic body had granted permission for constructing the structure.

The Bench adjourned the matter for further hearing on December 12.