More than 50 workers are engaged in painting and cleaning work
Though a few works, including formation of service roads are still pending, the long-awaited Road Over Bridge (ROB) at Periyar Nagar near Thiruvanaikoil is all set to be opened for traffic on Friday.
Ahead of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s visit to Tiruchi, who is scheduled to preside over a marriage function of an AIADMK functionary on Friday, the Highway officials carried out painting work on the parapet walls of ROB from the southern-end at Periar Nagar to the northern-end at Thiruvanaikoil. More than 50 workers have been engaged for painting and cleaning work.
Painting work of pillars and piers was yet to be undertaken. However, it was expected to gather pace on Monday.
It is not clear whether Mr. Palaniswami has given clearance to commission the ROB on Friday. However, Collector S. Sivarasu, who had inspected the ROB a few days ago, has taken up the issue with the senior officials and Chief Minister Office in Chennai and impressed upon the need for opening the bridge for traffic, which has been closed for over three years since 2016. The sufferings of motorists and passengers, who are taking circuitous route to commute between Thiruvanaikoil and Mambalasalai, have also been taken to the notice of senior officials. Official sources told that though there was no word yet on the official commissioning of the bridge, chances were bright either for partial commissioning of the bridge or opening it for traffic on Friday.
Opinion is divided among the residents of Thiruvanaikoil on commissioning the bridge while service road work is still pending. Many are of the view that the ROB can no longer be kept idle specially when the structural part has already been completed. But, there are dissenting notes too. Some are raising apprehension that it is incorrect to open the bridge when service road work on both the sides and establishment of junction at Thiruvanaikoil are still pending.
“The bridge should be opened only after completing all pending works. Otherwise, it will take a long time to complete them as the apathy of officials may come into play,” says M. Mari of Thiruvanaikoil.
But, many regular road users disagree.
“The two-wheeler riders undergo untold sufferings while negotiating bumpy and uneven mud road along the ROB for so long. It is testing the hip of riders. It is unwise to keep the finished part of the bridge unused on the pretext of pending service roads. It should be opened for traffic immediately,” says S. Viswanathan, vice president, ‘Thanneer’.
Extensive traffic diversions are in force in Srirangam and Thiruvanaikoil over the past three years to facilitate the construction of the bridge.
The project was sanctioned by the government as early as 2011, but construction began only in 2016. Initially, the Highways Department had delayed commencement of the construction work as it had to await the completion of the ROB on Odathurai Road to allow diversion of traffic towards Chennai Bypass Road.
The old bridge on Chennai Trunk Road was subsequently demolished to make way for the new bridge. The ROB was originally scheduled to be completed by 2017. But, there was an inordinate delay citing land acquisition and litigation. Of the total project cost of ₹125 crore, ₹78 crore was earmarked for land acquisition.
(source : TOI)