The 15.3-km Airport-Kilambakkam stretch will be completely elevated line with 12 stations
Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) has finished the detailed project report to link the city airport to Kilambakkam via Tambaram, Perungalathur and Vandalur.
The 15.3-km elevated line will have 12 stations at Pallavaram, Kothandam Nagar, Chromepet, Mahalakshmi Colony, Thiru. Vi. Ka. Nagar, Tambaram, Irumbuliyur, Peerkankaranai, Perungalathur, Vandalur, Arignar Anna Zoo and Kilambakkam Bus Terminus.
The CMRL has submitted the DPR to the State government and is holding high-level talks to take the project forward. Sources said the priority would be to seek funding from various agencies after which the construction work can begin.
“This will be an entirely elevated stretch and hence construction will be fairly easier to finish when compared to underground. We are mulling if we should be making some minor changes on the alignment. While the stations will remain the same, slight changes in the route in a few areas are now considered owing to various reasons. But most of the alignment will be on the arterial GST Road either at the centre or veering towards the left,” a source said.
Although the Chennai Metro Rail’s extension line from Airport to Kilambakkam will be operated alongside the suburban rail network for some distance, a section of experts express doubts that it may become redundant as it would be duplication of a mass transport network.
Urban planning experts say the Metro may be helpful if implemented in a comprehensive way with multimodal integration.
Aswathy Dilip, South Asia director of Institute of Transportation and Development Policy, said that in a fast-growing city such as Chennai, there was a need for different types of transport.
“Housing boom has been shifting to the southern suburbs and hence people don’t want to sit in their private vehicles and are willing to move to public transport which is easily available and comfortable. There are many IT companies and many sections in those areas are from a slightly economically higher background who in the absence of a high quality, comfortable mode of public transport will take to private transport. So, access from the residential areas around the Metro Rail network to reach every station easily needs to be developed,” she said.
Shreya Gadepalli, managing trustee of the Chennai-based Urban Works Institute, said Metro might run parallel to suburban rail in the south but serves many other areas in the north. However, ridership on the existing lines of the Metro had been low.
“Metro Rail must be complemented by an equally high quality bus service which, incidentally, costs just a fraction of the Metro Rail. People don’t care whether it is a metro or a bus or a suburban train, all they want is to reach their destination on time comfortably. An integrated multimodal service is the need of the hour,” Ms. Shreya added.