CHENNAI: It may sound weird but true. A large crater on the arterial GST road delayed the departure of at least seven flights on Friday evening as officials were forced to keep check-in counters open for 15-20 minutes after the scheduled closing time. Passengers trying to get to airport were stuck in traffic for close to two hours and would have missed their flights had not the airlines consented to help.
A portion of the arterial road caved in while Chennai Metro Rail was undertaking excavation work in the 500-metre underground stretch between OTA and Meenambakkam. Sources at the airport said there was pandemonium after the cave-in with callers reaching out to airlines seeking help.
“I was stuck on that stretch for two hours before reaching the airport. There was space only for one large vehicle to pass,” said Arul Nathan, a passenger who was flying to Mumbai. Luckily for him, and several others, flights were delayed due to congestion which gave them a lot more time.
A CMRL official said the road caved in suddenly while work was under way in the stretch opposite the Trident Hotel. “It could be partly due to rain as well as other factors. We are looking into it,” he said. Sources believe that the side wall might have caved in as work would have not been done properly.
The CMRL official said it would take a whole night to repair the stretch. “Our people will ensure that the work is completed by Friday night,” he said adding that traffic would be allowed only on one side of the road. There is a possibility of this affecting travellers using the route to go to their native places for the week-end.
In January this year, a pipeline of Metro Water suffered a leak when CMRL carried out work along the alignment pillar between OTA and Meenambakkam.