The proposal to construct a road overbridge (ROB) at Level Crossing 1 (LC1), located between Villivakkam railway station and Perambur Loco station, was announced in 2012. When the Chennai Corporation announced the proposal, it brought a lot of cheer to the residents of Villivakkam and Kolathur.
However, more than 6 years have passed and the residents are yet to see the ROB commissioned. LC1, located between LC2, where a subway has been constructed, and Perambur Loco bridge, has been a long-pending demand of residents of several residential areas spread across north Chennai. The areas located on either side of Villivakkam and Kolathur have limited infrastructure facilities for operating public transport buses and last-mile connectivity for train users is absent. So many residents use personal transportation, and they often find themselves delayed for work, waiting for the gate to open.
LC1, located adjacent to the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), links a number of residential areas on the Kolathur side including GKM Colony, Rajaji Nagar and Shastri Nagar. But motorists face severe hardships, especially at peak hour, when the LC1 gate is closed for operating trains, leading to heavy traffic congestion.
T. Harikrishnan, a resident of GKM Colony, said thousands of residents living on either side of the track near Villivakkam railway station are unable to cross the railway track once LC1 gate is closed. He complained that the residents are forced a take detour via the LC2 subway or the Perambur Loco bridge to reach Villivakkam, Anna Nagar and other areas.
‘In 18 months’
Former DMK councillor and a resident of GKM Colony, Deva Jawahar, said that Corporation officials had forgotten about the project. He said while the railways has completed its portion above the tracks, the civic body has not started construction on its side. Only recently has the civic body decided to acquire lands on the southern side of the gate to complete the ROB project. A senior official of the Bridge department of the Corporation said construction work on the southern side of the ROB would be started once the acquisition of land belonging to ICF was completed.
The official said the flyover project estimated at a cost of ₹59 crore would be completed in 18 months’ time. The total cost of the project includes the land proposed to be acquired from ICF on a 35-year lease. The bridge work alone would cost ₹26 crore.
The official said: “Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had cleared work on the ROB project recently.”
The ROB will have a total of 11 pillars along its length of 460 metres and width of 8.5 metres, with carriageway of 7.5 metres. The ROB would connect East Seeyalam Street with Villivakkam East Railway Crossing Road in Kumaran Nagar.
A senior official of ICF, confirming the proposal to acquire a portion of its land, also highlighted the need for removing encroachments on East Seeyalam Street for a broader access way.