Connect Velachery to Vandalur as part of Chennai Metro Rail Phase II Extension

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Construct Chennai Metro Rail connecting from Kilambakkam at Vandalur to Velachery Railway Station for 24kms through Medavakkam, Selaiyur & Tambaram as part of the CMRL Phase II Extension. Connecting Vandalur with Velachery by Mono Rail was one of the key projects of former Chief Minister Ms.J.Jayalalitha few years back with 3 other routes altogether. She knew there was a necessity for modern transport on this route. Later Mono Rail faced many issues and still the project has not taken off. Also few of the routes planned earlier have now been connected by the Chennai Metro Rail Phase II. Chennai City has started expanding to more than 100kms surroundings.

South Chennai acts as the key entrance to other parts of Tamil Nadu where many people travel through Tambaram and Perungalathur. Also Tambaram Railway Station is the 3rd Largest Railway Station in Chennai yet it does not have proper intermodal integration other than Buses and Share Autos. As of now, only Koyambedu is connected through Chennai Metro Rail, connecting Velachery with Vandalur is also very essential as once the upcoming Bus Stand at Kilambakkam is functional large has to travel to Vandalur. The population in and around Velachery-Tambaram Main Road is increasing very fast day by day due to rapid infrastructure developments there. Any public transit system is incomplete without intermodal integration. Among strong reasons to believe Velachery will stay in the spotlight are the developments taking place all around this strategically-located area. The Velachery-Tambaram Main Road which provides key connectivity to the locality is being widened with work almost complete on certain sections of it. Developments on GST Road and OMR also fuel an interest in Velachery.

From a purely shopaholic point of view, Velachery seems to be ahead of any other locality found on the Velachery-Tambaram Main Road (which is witnessing the launch of a lifestyle establishment every day). Unlike residents in any of the other areas, Selaiyur and Pallikaranai being two examples right off the top of my head, some of them having who have to travel considerable distance of this arterial road, residents of Velachery find most shopping facilities concentrated is one small section of the locality.

According to official data, more than 60,000 vehicles ply on the Velachery-Tambaram Road as it connects East Coast Road (ECR) with the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR). Numerous schools, colleges and residences are located along the stretch. Chennai is expected to face severe traffic congestion in the coming years. In the absence of properly planned mass transit systems, a disproportionately high share of trips will be carried by personalized modes of transport creating a chaotic situation and causing over-strain of the existing infrastructure. To improve the situation, there is a direct need to come up with a comprehensive transportation management plan. The number of goods vehicles in Chennai has increased and correspondingly its movement.  With the anticipated population of 12.6 million (including Chennai City and rest of CMA) by 2026, it is expected that the Passengers Per Hour Per Direction (PPHPD) in the transit network, along some of the major corridors, would be in the rage of 20,000 to 30,000 PPHPD. Pollution due to vehicular emission adversely impacts the environment. Periodical monitoring conducted by Pollution Control Board reveal that the level of pollution by Carbon Monoxide (CO) and that of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) have increased beyond the permissible limits.

Bus augmentation will not be able to cater to the increased public transit load. Public transport corridors on which a higher system like BRT/Mono-Rail/MRTS or Metro run need to be identified.  Bringing BRT will again create more vehicles on road, also will not help to create Green Energy Transport System. In the same way, planning of the existing MRTS should have been extended upto Tambaram earlier through Medavakkam which would have been circular Trains from Beach to  Tambaram and back to Beach. But this is not possible anymore and already the existing MRTS extension from Velachery to St.Thomas Mount has been halted for many decades. The only possibility available now would be a Metro Rail or Mono Rail. As in Chennai Mono Rail has not been implemented anywhere, the best mass transport system would be Metro Rail. Also it will be great success, if a same kind of transport system connects all localities.

The overall ridership of Chennai Metro Rail and MRTS will increase double-folds with last mile connectivity in entire Chennai city by connecting Velachery-Tambaram Main Road route with Vandalur. Even though Chennai Metro Rail travels through Medavakkam reaching Shollinganallur from Madhavaram, it does not fulfil the entire travel demands of South Chennai. Also while there are been plans to extend Chennai Metro Rail from Airport to Vandalur, it does not cater to the needs of people around Velachery Main Road. Also extending Airport route to Vandalur will be less useful as it already runs parallel to the existing Sub Urban Beach – Tambaram trains.

Constructing Chennai Metro Rail at this Velachery Tambaram route, will create a four major Intermodal Transport Integration System:

1)Velachery Railway Station – (Beach – Velachery MRTS ridership will increase)

2)Medavakkam – (Will be an interchange mode for those travelling from Tambaram surroundings to OMR through Madhavaram – Shollinganallur CMRL Phase ii)

3)Tambaram Railway Station – (People travelling from other parts of Tamil Nadu through trains, will have the option to choose numerous transport system. Now people believe only on Sub urban trains or MTC buses)

4)Kilambakkam Bus Terminus – (It will be a major Hub for people travelling to various other Cities of Tamil Nadu. In future, this will become the entrance to the city of Chennai with easy travel to any corner in Chennai in less than 2 hours).

Also this route will be an Intermodal Transport at Kamatchi Hospital, Pallikaranai connecting part of the upcoming BRTS Thoraipakkam – Chrompet route.

Chennai Metro Rail is the only Disabled Friendly Transport System in Chennai as of now, where in a Person with Disability has the complete freedom to travel in a Wheelchair independently without anyone’s support.  This accessible transport system can be fully utilised only if Velachery Tambaram is connected with other parts of the city by Chennai Metro Rail creating an Inclusive environment.

Suggestions and Points related to Construction of Chennai Metro Rail along Velachery to Vandalur route:-

·         Most of the places in this route are already Six Lanes and in the remaining places also works are going for expansion of the road.

·         It can be an Elevated Corridor completely for the entire 24kms, very less land acquisition will be needed only for the Stations alone.

·         The cost of the project will be very much decreased due to an elevated corridor and less land acquisitions.

·         Existing Lands available for Stations – Land available at Velachery Railway Station which can acquired from Southern Railways. Land for Station at Kamatchi Hospital, Pallikaranai can be acquired NIOT.  Land for Station at Medavakkam available near Pallikaranai Police Station. Land at Medavakkam Junction Bus Stand along with nearby acquisition if required. Land available for Kamarajapuram Station at Sembakkam Municipality Office. Land available at East Tambaram Railway Station (opposite MCC College) can be utilised. Similarly space at Vandalur Zoo entrance can utilised for station there.

·         Even though the project cannot be completed fully without land acquisition, the above places will reduce Land Acquisitions drastically.

·         Along this Velachery to Vandalur route, already there are 5 existing Flyovers. Different strategies can be followed for construction at these places. Elevated Structures can be constructed parallel at the left side of the Flyover near Kamatchi Hospital (while travelling towards tambaram from velachery). Pillars can be installed on both sides of the Service road near NIOT parallel to the Flyover and Elevated Structure can be build above the road 5 meters height. Same kind of construction is already followed in Little Mount Station and roads near Alandur Station. In these places vehicles will be travelling under Metro Trains Simultaneously.  In Medavakkam also, Pillars need to be installed at sides of the road parallel to the under construction Flyover.(Left side of the Flyover while travelling Velachery towards Tambaram). In Tambaram, Pillars can be installed on the opposite of MCC College near East Tambaram Railway Station along with Metro station there with height of around 20 meters from ground to cross the existing Flyover there. From Tambaram upto Perungalathur, pillars can be installed either on the centre of the road or parallel to railway lines. In Vandalur, Pillars can be installed at the centre around 20 meters height to cross the both Flyovers there.

·         Places that will be directly benefited through Velachery to Vandalur route are Vandalur, Peungalathur, Tambaram, Selaiyur, Camp Road, Kamarajapuram, Gowrivakkam, Santhoshapuram, Medavakkam Junction, Medavakkam, Pallikaranai, Kamatchi Hospital Signal and Velachery

·          Places that will be benefited at secondary level (through last mile connectivity) are Nedukundram, Urapakkam, Mudichur, Sanatorium, Chittlapakkam, Hasthinapuram, Agaram, Rajakilpakkam, Madambakkam, Jayendra Nagar-Sembakkam, Vengaivasal, Ponmar, Mambakkam, S.Kolathur, Narayanapuram. These all places are just within 1 to 2 kms surroundings at this suggested Velachery to Vandalur Chennai Metro Rail route.

·         There are many shopping malls, colleges and offices which will also be benefited by this route.

Final Conclusion

Velachery Tambaram Main Road is one of the very busy upcoming developments of South Chennai leading an entry way to all routes of Chennai. People travelling anywhere from Tamil Nadu have to pass through this route from Vandalur, Perungalathur, without a Mass Transport System in this route it will become extremely arduous in future. Even though road expansion takes places in many places, it will not be able to reduce vehicles and its traffic congestions which are increasing day by day. Also there is very high need to create an Green Transport System which will reduce vehicles on road and this will also create an entire accessible transport system for persons with disabilities travelling to any corner of the city with this route enabling reaching anywhere Outstation Bus Stand at Kilambakkam or Perungalathur, Tambaram Railway Station, Airport, Velachery, Koyambedu, CMBT, Egmore or Chennai Central. Even though cost involved will be high when compared to BRTS or any other transport system, investing one time will yield results for many years. Chennai Metro Rail Phase II sees double the footfall as of now but with this Velachery to Vandalur Phase II Extension it will be thrice and also help huge crowd travelling outstation to reach their bus on time. Now a days, in festival season it takes more than 5 hours to move out of the city.

 

For all the above reasons, we request the concerned authorities to Construct Chennai Metro Rail connecting from Kilambakkam at Vandalur to Velachery Railway Station for 24kms through Medavakkam, Selaiyur & Tambaram as part of the CMRL Phase II Extension.