Construction of the Chennai arm of the multi-level road over bridge (ROB) near Tiruchi Junction continues to drag as the State Highways department is still awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Defence to get a piece of land for the project.
Meanwhile, the Highways Department has completed two other arms – towards the Madurai Road and the Central Bus Stand – both of which are expected to be opened soon.
The Highways Department has been pushing hard to get in-principle approval from the Ministry for nearly two years, so that the unfinished Chennai arm of the ROB can be completed. The Highways department had sought about 2,685 square metres of defence land for the project, with 1,600 sq mt for the first stage.
The State government had offered the Ministry land of equal value (in lieu of the land for the project at Tiruchi) at Kancheepuram and the district authorities, a few months ago, had claimed that the Ministry had agreed for the transfer.
But in a recent development, the Ministry has reportedly sought land of equal value within Chennai city limits.
The Highways Department has requested the State to identify a piece of land within Chennai Corporation limits for the transfer, sources privy to the development said.
Though the Highways Department was ready to pay money for the land, the ministry as a policy does not provide land for monetary consideration. Hence, an alternative land of equal value was offered.
The Defence Ministry was reported to have asked for land of equal value preferably contiguous to its property at Mannarpuram in Tiruchi initially.
Since no land was available in the vicinity, the State government offered the land in Kancheepuram.
The ROB project, taken up by the Railways and the Highways department, is being executed in two stages by reconstructing the narrow road over the bridge across the railway lines near the Tiruchi Junction.
In the first stage, a new three-lane road overbridge with six arms is being built at a cost of Rs. 44.28 crore adjacent to the existing bridge. After the first stage is completed, the old bridge will be dismantled and a new bridge with two arms will be built in its place in the second stage.
The first stage of the new flyover was scheduled to be completed by February 2017 and the second stage by 2019. However, delays in land transfer and acquisition have been major impediments.
The Dindigul Highway-Railway Junction arm was opened for traffic in March 2016.
Sources in the Highways Department said nearly 90% of the first stage of the project has been completed and two more arms are ready to be opened.
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