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Plan to construct skywalk near Central station

K. Lakshmi

Imminent closure of subway a reason

CHENNAI: The Highways Department is planning to construct a skywalk, an elevated walkway exclusively for pedestrians, near the Central railway station.

It will be nearly one km long and extend from near Park station to Madras Medical College on Poonamallee High Road, officials of the department said.

Escalators and ramps would be provided at different points to enable users to gain access to the walkway. It has been decided to install escalators instead of elevators to save time for the users, an official said.

An estimated 20,000 pedestrians use the stretch of the arterial road during rush hour now. The facility is expected to discourage jaywalking on the stretch. Many pedestrians now have reservation about using the existing subways, particularly on account of lack of safety.

One of the reasons for proposing the skywalk is the imminent closure of a subway near Park station for the Chennai Metro Rail project. Along Poonamallee High Road, the Metro Rail would have underground stations.

The officials added that once the State government approves the proposal, a detailed study about various aspects of the skywalk would be conducted. Some cities, including Mumbai and Bangalore, have skywalks.

Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited said the work to construct underground stations, on a stretch of 9 km of Poonamallee High Road, would begin next year. The work would be part of Corridor II (Chennai Central-St.Thomas Mount). Alternative arrangements would be made after the subway is closed.

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