Tamil Nadu state Highways Department has sought Rs 2.33 crore from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) for preparing a detailed project report for a project that will link two vital roads in the southern part of the metropolitan area.
This project will connect the East Coast Road (ECR) and Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), which serve as significant thoroughfares to many employment and residential areas.
To avoid traffic congestion caused by limited connectivity between the information technology sector along OMR and the leisure and entertainment corridor of ECR, making ECR into a more integral corridor would be beneficial.
With most of the population working in the IT sector visiting ECR for leisure activities, this would help ease traffic on the roads and reduce the extended detours, longer travel time and traffic congestion in the areas served by these roads.
In 2021-22, Housing and Urban Development Minister Muthuswamy unveiled a Rs 180-crore project that entails road expansion and a rotary bridge construction between Kannagi Nagar and Injambakkam by linking ECR and OMR over the Buckingham Canal.
On 28 October, 2021, the minister inspected and approved a link between Kannagi Nagar and Injambakkam. But during a talk with the Water Resources Department, which is in charge of the water bodies, there was a hurdle.
According to the department overseeing the project, the construction of a bridge across the Buckingham Canal is an integral aspect of the project, but it must adhere to the guidelines set out by the Inland Waterway Authority of India.
This means that the bridge would have to provide a vertical clearance of seven metres to accommodate the navigational stretch of the South Buckingham Canal.
Furthermore, the mud roads that currently run along the canal banks are only for inspection via jeep, and the proposed construction of roads in the CMDA proposal is not allowed.
To address the issue of commute and safety along a canal, various departments converged in an inter-departmental meeting. They proposed the construction of parallel roads along the bunds of the canal, which would involve strengthening the bunds and establishing rotary bridge intersections in two or three locations.
According to the Water Resources Department, this initiative would be permissible if the bunds are reinforced. To proceed with the plan, a detailed project report from the Highways Department is in the works. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority will cover the costs of the DPR, which amounts to Rs 2.33 crore.
Southern Chennai's growth potential has led CMDA to consider the project. Further growth is expected in the anticipated corridor.
The state government plans to restore Buckingham Canal and develop a waterfront blueprint. Recovered land beyond the canal boundaries will be used for infrastructure development, beautification, and recreational purposes.
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