Around 50% of the work to construct a subway — at level crossing 11A at Bhojaraja Nagar on Kannan Street in Mint — has been completed. At present, the work to construct the box-structure beneath the railway tracks is being carried out.
The subway that is coming up some 750 metres from the Korukkupet railway station, is being constructed with funds from the Greater Chennai Corporation. “The railways have been working on the box portion of the subway for at least two years now and will take a few more months to finish. They have spent ₹5 crore so far and have recently sought another ₹1.5 crore. The initial estimate was only ₹2 crore for their portion,” explained a source at the Corporation.
The civic body plans to call for tenders only after land is available for the construction of approach ramps, retaining walls and wells to pump out the water to keep the subway from flooding. “Only recently, we found that an oil main belonging to the Indian Oil Corporation runs through the site. We have to shift that and a Chennai Metrowater main line before handing over the site to a contractor. After shifting these, it will take us close to 12 months to complete our portion of the work,” said another official.
Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, who recently inspected the subway work, said he would write to the railways and the Corporation asking them to speed up the work.
Meanwhile, residents complained that the work was progressing at a snail’s pace. The proposal to construct a subway had been made nearly two decades ago. It had been included in the Southern Railway’s annual plan for 2011-12, but due to issues with funding, it was only taken up a couple of years ago.
“The subway will only bring partial relief since it can, at the most, accommodate cars and mini ambulances. Bigger vehicles will have to wait at the gate,” said Selvaraj, who commutes to Mint daily for work. Residents hope that the promised work to replace nearby level crossings 2A and 2B would bring some relief to them.