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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XVIII No. 9, august 16-31, 2008

Less waterways width for
more road space?

(T. Murrali)

Can you imagine reaching Porur junction from Adyar in about 20 minutes cruising through lush greenery? Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Ltd. (TNUIFSL) is working to make this dream come true.

There has been a clustered development pattern in Chennai – the northern belt occupied by petroleum and chemical industries, the western part as a manufacturing hub, and the south as the IT destination. This has led to roads which are chock-a-block with traffic.

The city has about 2,500 km of roads and widening them is impossible due to saturation of construction on either side.

Speaking to Business Line, the adviser to TNUIFSL, Dr. M.S. Srinivasan, says due to the rapid growth of motor vehicle population in Chennai, most corridors exceed one lakh passenger car units per day, resulting in capacity saturation.

Hence, at the State Government’s request, TNUIFSL has conceived an idea to re-route traffic through newly identified corridors and connecting links along the cleaned-up river water courses of the city, integrating them with the initiatives taken by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Nine alignments have been identified, which will have four circular routes within the city interconnecting the existing roads and vantage points. This will add another 120 km of roads to the city. These roads, he says, can be laid out without disturbing the existing traffic.

The project focusses on reducing the width of river bodies such as the Adyar river and the Mambalam and Buckingham Canals, without affecting the flow and using the reclaimed space for constructing parks, promenades and roads, according to the Assistant Vice-President of TNUIFSL, R. Gayathri. About 50 per cent of the 120 km length of the road will be constructed by the State Government at a cost of Rs. 40 crore a km, she added.

A feasibility study relating to various alignments in the proposed 120-km stretch and a detailed report on the Adyar river front project will be taken up soon. The study will be completed in about nine months and execution is expected in 24 months.

In addition, the project proposes to introduce Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and a dedicated passage lane for two/three-wheelers. The study also aims to develop a revenue model to make the project self-sustainable, Dr. Srinivasan says. The study will examine the possibility of relocating the slums in situ. The Government plans to implement the project through the Adyar Poonga Trust, which engaged TNUIFSL to develop and assist in execution of the project.

Initially, the Adyar alignment will be taken up as an integrated riverfront development project. The cost of the project is likely to be Rs. 2,300 crore and it may eventually become self-sustaining. (Courtesy: Business Line)


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