CMDA move to commercialise land under Outer Ring Road against study
Report had suggested widening outer ring road to eight-lanes by 2031
CHENNAI: A move by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to commercialise the 50-metre wide unutilised stretch running along the 62km Outer Ring Road (ORR) is against the report of consultants.
The consultants, Larsen and Toubro and Danish Consulting group Ramboll, appointed in 2013, had opposed commercial development in the 50-metre stretch. “Commercial developments will not only prevent future transport infrastructure development which is critical to support the population that is likely to settle along the ORR corridor but also will have adverse impacts such as congestion, accidents and indiscriminate growth of private vehicles in the absence of a public transport system. However, residential and commercial developments are possible beyond the 122-metre stretch as the lands along the ORR are predominantly zoned for mixed residential and urbanisable lands,” the report observed.
The ORR was proposed in the First Master Plan with the objective to relieve congestion within the city and catalyse the even dispersal of urban growth besides strengthening the orbital road network. The width of the strip of land acquired for the development of the 62km Outer Ring Road corridor is 122m, of which 50m is being used for road development (25m for each carriageway). Twenty-two metres between the left and right carriageway is reserved for the public transport corridor and the remaining 50m on the eastern side has not been utilised.
The report also suggested ORR needs to be widened to an eight-lane configuration by 2031. Interestingly, the report did not take into account the traffic due to the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor Project and East-Coast Economic Corridor.
“Instead of using the 50-metre stretch, commercial developments can be planned at stations and outside ORR corridor at interchange locations on Public Private Partnership by giving certain incentives. This will help in increasing patronage and will also generate non-traffic revenue. Since the development is a greenfield development adequate infrastructure can be developed,” the report said.
Planners are also opposing the move to commercialise the 50-metre stretch. Former Anna University professor of urban engineering K P Subramanian said, “The basic objective of the ORR is to relieve the congestion and pollution in the inner-city area. In the event of intense commercial development of the 50-metre stretch, the ORR itself will become prone to congestion, pollution, and ecological degradation.” “The entire service road will be used as a frontage for commercial activities resembling a gridlock situation. In addition, it will also increase the travel demand and the trip length,” he added.
Former Chief Planner of CMDA, Krishna Kumar, said the government has to study the feasibility of commercialisation taking into account the traffic projections in the future. “Without any study, how can they go in for commercialisation,” he said.
50m-wide land running along eastern side not used
The width of the strip of land acquired for the development of the 62km Outer Ring Road corridor is 122m, of which 50m is being used for road development (25m for each carriageway). Twenty-two metres between the left and right carriageway is reserved for the public transport corridor and the remaining 50m on the eastern side has not been utilised