Chennai: Work to demolish the Anna Arch to make way for a subway and two flyovers threw traffic out of gear at Aminjikarai, as vehicles had to make a long detour, either through Shenoy Nagar or through Koyambedu to reach Anna Nagar or Ayanavaram. “With buses having to take smaller roads in Shenoy Nagar and make unscheduled stops, the traffic was horrible through the day,” rued Adiseshan, a resident of Brewery Road. “Not only was there a constant flow of traffic on the usually quiet roads, quite a number of people were lost and asking for directions,” he added.
According to several motorists, it took almost 45 minutes to drive from Aminjikarai to Tirumangalam — a drive that normally doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, even during peak hour. The traffic jam intensified at 11 am and continued till late Sunday evening. Adding to the confusion was the fact that Anna Nagar is now a network of detours and oneway streets, courtesy the ongoing Metro Rail work. Even Poonamallee High Road remained clogged, though engineers attributed it to another reason. “Almost every single person who passed by the arch slowed down and looked at how it was being demolished. Some even stopped,” an engineer said.
The arch is being brought down to accommodate two flyovers and a subway to decongest traffic and the work is being handled by a private contractor. "The process was slow as the arch was extremely solid and difficult to break through,” said a worker. By the time they worked their way through one arch that weighs over 80,000 kg, it was almost mid-day, despite the workers having toiled from Saturday midnight. “It will take another day, but we are confident of doing the job well,” said the engineer.