CHENNAI: Often synonymous with its steel plant, mangoes, manganese, silver and silk, the city of Salem is all set to add two more identities to its crown of development. The first is a two-tier flyover – the first of its kind in south India and the second is its new identity as a smart city.
The state highways department initially decided on a flyover in Salem to ease the traffic congestion in the city, which is known for its narrow and crooked roads. The project, however, would have meant demolishing hundreds of houses to construct the flyover.“That is when authorities came up with the idea of constructing a two – tier flyover as it can be constructed on limited space and doesn’t not require demolishing buildings,“ said an official from the state highways department.
The flyover was announced by chief minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2012. After studying the project for three years, the highways department floated tenders in December 2015. The construction started in April this year.
Highways department officials say the first-level flyover will start from AVR Roundtana and split into two stretches at Five Roads corner. “One of the stretches will pass through Saradha College Road and end near Alagapuram. The other will culminate at the New Bus Stand,“ said a department official. The distance between AVR Roundtana and New Bus stand would be around 2km.The width of the flyover between AVR Roundtana and New Bus stand will be 13.6m, while that between Five Roads and Alagapuram via Saradha College Road will be 7m.
The second deck will start from Kuranguchavadi and pass through the Five Roads corner before culminating near the New Bus stand. “The flyover will also be split into two stretches at Five Roads area. One will have down and up stretches for the New Bus stand, while the other will take commuters to Four Roads junction and Anna Park,“ officials said. The distance between Kuranguchavadi and New Bus stand will be approximately 2km and the width of the flyover there will be around 13.60m. Similarly, the flyover will be 7m wide on the stretch between New Bus Stand and TVS and 13.6m between TVS and Four Roads junction. “We have reduced the width of the flyover in a few areas due to narrow roads,“ said an official from the department.
The smart city project promises to take the revamping a bit further. Salem is one of the 27 cities in the country identified by the Union urban development ministry (on September 20) in its third list of smart cities proposed. Uninterrupted power supply, good roads, potable water round the clock and wi-fi facilities in all areas are some of the promises the smart city project has made.
The Salem Municipal Corporation (SMC) appointed a Bengaluru based company as consultant for the project. The company in December 2015 submitted a city-wide plan before the SMC. The corporation through advertisements asked people to help it prioritise areas for development. The SMC had identified nine areas and had asked residents to give their opinion through public poll.
In a poll taken by 15, 738 residents, 8,695 people voted to develop the VOC Market and Old bus stand on a priority basis, the two being the busiest and congested areas in the city. The VOC market which is crammed with vegetable, flowers and fruit shops is busy throughout the week. The market connects areas like Ammapet and Ponnammapet with central Salem. Similarly, the Old Bus Stand is a transit point for all buses plying to and from the city.
The corporation under the smart city project plans to build multi-storeyed parking lots, shopping malls, commercial complexes and traffic-free areas in VOC Market and the Old Bus Stand, which together sprawl across 600 acres.“We will start work on these areas once we get funds from central and state governments,“ said SMC commissioner K R Selvaraj.
Credits ET Realty