CHENNAI: After being stalled for four years over a land acquisition case, construction of the new bridge across Cooum River in Avadi resumed last week and is nearing completion. Officials said the construction would be over by the end of August.
The construction of the bridge began in 2015 and even as most of the work was completed, a case filed by one of the landowners halted the progress. ''The required land was acquired only recently and the construction is now going at a good pace,'' said a NABARD official.
The bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs. 6.6 crores funded by NABARD (National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development) connects Kamaraj Nagar with Ayalcheri and would facilitate motorists to reach Poonamalle easily.
The project kicked off on April 2015 as the existing Kannanpalayam flyover had become dilapidated. The construction of the bridge was completed 80 percent by the end of 2015, even before the proposed deadline which was only August 2016.
Residents in the surrounding locality of Kamaraj Nagar expressed happiness over the construction nearing completion as for the past decade, they not only had to take a longer route to cross Cooum but the journey was at life's risk.
''The Kannanpalayam bridge had been in a dilapidated state since 2008. Further, the 2015 floods weakened its pillars and cracks emerged,'' said Kathiravan S (46), a vegetable vendor and resident of the locality.
The bridge has been left in a neglected state with no roads nor railings. The pathway was just filled with sand and stones causing a bumpy ride to commuters. ''No railings on both sides posed a risk of people falling in the Cooum river 20 feet below,'' said the resident.
Another resident, Valarmathy M (41) said that ever since the old bridge became dilapidated and neglected, locals found it easy to walk on it and fling garbage into the Cooum. When Express visited the bridge, the bone-dry river was engulfed with month's old garbage on both sides of the bridge.
''The new bridge will bring us a safe ride to the city parts crossing the river,'' said Valarmathy.
Since the unconstructed bridge had been kept on the back burner for four years now, it has also become a home for cows and parking spot for Heavy Motor Vehicles. Some commuters confusedly enter the unmanned bridge from Kamaraj Nagar, only to return back, after finding that the bridge is not connected to the other end yet.