Work on another project that has raised great expectations is progressing at a good clip. The construction of the Rail Over Bridge (ROB), which will replace the existing manned railway line at Annanur near Thirumullaivoyal, is nearing completion with over 80 per cent of the work having been completed. The new bridge project, handled by the Rural Roads wing of the State Highways Department and NABARD for the past two years will ensure easy access to various parts of Chennai via CTH Road.
At present, most of the motorists from the neighbourhood take a detour via Avadi and Thirumullavoyal to reach CTH Road covering a distance of over four kilometres. The existing manned railway crossing at Annanur railway crossing remains closed most of the time especially during rush hour even as the operation of suburban trains resumed a few months ago.
Many motorists, especially motorcyclists, cross the railway track to reach the other side of the neighbourhood putting themselves at risk for accidents.
“Early inauguration of the new bridge will put an end to out plight. The connecting stretch between the neighbourhood and CTH Road should also be relaid to ensure safety of road users,” says K. Vinod, a motorist from Annanoor.
The project got the administrative nod from the State government in 2012, but due to challenges in land acquisition it got delayed by many years. The work got under way more than an year ago. As per the plan, the two-lane bridge will be built at a cost of ₹24 crore with the total length of the bridge pegged at around 650 metres and its width, 7.5 metres, with additional facilities such as stormwater drains, LED street lights, median, reflectors, footpaths and staircases.
According to existing work standards, the railway track portion of such projects including subways and bridges is being done by the Engineer Division of the Southern Railway while the ramp portion on the connecting roads is done by the State Highways.
Between Chennai Central and Tiruvallur railway stations, Annanoor railway station is one of the five most accident-prone spots on the western suburban rail line, as per a recent study done by the Railways. Railway stations at Vyasarpadi, Villivakkam, Pattabiram and Thiruninravur near Avadi are the other four most accident-prone spots on the route where on an average three persons die on the tracks every week. Most of these deaths occur due to trespassing, with commuters talking over the mobile phone and thereby failing to see the oncoming trains, mostly suburban trains.