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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 12, october 1-15, 2009
Twists and turns
in elevated road projects
(By a Special Correspondent)

The elevated road projects get more and more confusing by the day with conflicting signals emanating from the powers-that-be. The fates of the three elevated corridors – the first along the beach, the second along the Adyar, and the third from Poonamallee to the Port entrance near the War Memorial, running partly along the Cooum – are all in various stages of suspended animation as the Government and the public debate over them.

Will our elevated highways
look like this?

According to reliable reports, the elevated road proposed along the Marina and San Thomé beaches faces an uncertain future, following spirited protests from environmentalists and, more importantly, the fisherfolk who live along the coast. With State Assembly elections just a little over a year away, it is highly unlikely that this project will be pushed through.

The Poonamallee corridor has already got underway with the Prime Minister laying the foundation stone last year. The project, estimated to cost Rs. 1650 crore, has begun with road-laying work at Maduravoyal. Land acquisition is perceived to be the biggest likely roadblock as far as this project is concerned.

The Adyar project is a little outlandish in its conception. It proposes one of two alternatives. The first is a straight six-lane elevated system and the second is a four-lane elevated highway above which will be a second tier that will have two lanes exclusively earmarked for buses. Referred to as the Chennai Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), it will, in its final form, span the entire city, connecting Adyar-Ramavaram-NH bypass-Madhavaram-Manali Oil Refinery-Central-Adyar. It is expected to abut the Buckingham Canal as well. A feasibility study is underway and is expected to be completed in January 2010.

Considerable uncertainty surrounds the Adyar project. As is usual, multiple agencies are involved and each is proceeding on the basis of different understandings. For instance, tenders have been floated for the building of a bridge between the Tiru Vi Ka Bridge, which connects RA Puram to Adyar, and the old Elphinstone Bridge by its side that has now been cut off from public use for many years. This is without taking into consideration the impact the new elevated road may have on such a bridge.

The building of these roads along the rivers flies in the face of all attempts that have been made to get the Government to revive the waterways in the city. Crores of rupees have been spent in beautification of banks, widening of river spans, desilting of beds, all with very little effect. Many announcements have been made – and much money is still being sought from the Centre – about the cleaning up of the rivers and making them navigable, but if these constructions are coming up it is a question of time before the Adyar and the Cooum go the way of the Buckingham Canal which has been completely blocked in the city by the MRTS. This despite the well-known fact that transportation by water is far cheaper than by roadways. But who will get the authorities to see sense?


In this issue

The road ahead...
Twists and turns...
During Madras Week...
A blogger's view...
Historic Residences...
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan


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