CHENNAI: To reconnect lakes in Pallavaram and Keelkatalai which were bifurcated when the Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram Radial Road was built, the state highways is building box culverts beneath the road at various spots.
Around 12 cement box culverts are being built at a budget of Rs 12 crore, of which six will be placed on the lake bed and remaining will be placed beneath the road till Keelkatalai Lake. Three box culverts at Pallavaram Periya Eri, three at Keelkatalai Eri and one between these two lakes at Putheri are being placed.
Being built in three sizes — 10x20 ft, 10x12 ft and 10x7 ft — they will replace pipes to maintain the water balance in both halves of the lake. “As the existing pipe is only 3 ft in diameter, sediments clog and restrict water flow. But as the box culverts are 170 ft in length and 10 ft in diameter, there is enough space for water to flow,” said an official from state highways.
David Manohar, an activist from Arappor Iyakkam, has been fighting for the interlinking of these lakes for two years. “Pallavaram Lake is spread across 190 acres. Around 10 acres is polluted due to garbage dumping by the local municipality. If the lakes aren’t interlinked, the flow of water will be disrupted and ultimately encroachments will be built on the wetland,” he said.
Construction of each structure will take close to three months to be completed as it comes directly under the Radial Road said the official. “We have to build the culverts on the lake bed before rains start. The ones near the edge of the road will take longer,” added the official.