CMRL mulls Chennai Airport-Kilambakkam Rail Line proposals; L&T submits Feasibility Report to expand Phase-1

Among three options presented by consultant to expand phase-1, authorities likely to favour route with 16-km alignment along GST.

CHENNAI: The first phase extension from Chennai Airport to Kilambakkam, where the new bus terminus is proposed, is likely to be a 16 km stretch along the GST road, according to Chennai Metro Rail sources. This comes after Larsen and Toubro is preparing the Feasibility Study Report for Chennai Metro Corridor 1 Extension from Chennai Airport to Kilambakkam Bus Terminal.

Sources privy to the project said that as per the inception report, Larsen and Toubro was looking at three different routes from Chennai Airport to Kilambakkam bus terminus.These include a 16km stretch along GST road, 19km stretch from GST Road till Tambaram and Mudichur Road afterwards and 20km stretch that passes from Airport-Cantonment-Pallavaram Bus Stand GST Road via Hastinapuram and Tambaram West Mudichur Road to Kilambakkam.

It is learnt that officials are favouring the first option, that is the 16km stretch along GST Road. This alignment follows the GST Road and will be fully elevated. The consultant has suggested alignment along the centre of the road if Right of Way permits along the first level and if there are existing structures then it will be along the second level. The stations will be planned integrating with Railways and Metropolitan Transport Corporation and utilizing their lands.

Sources indicated that a total of 13 stations are being proposed at a distance of 1.2km a station. Currently, there are seven suburban railway stations on this stretch. The option to have Metro rail along the GST road was preferred as the land acquisition and distance is minimal. The land acquisition required for the project will be defence lands after the airport, private lands where commercial establishments are located near Pallavaram, and near Perungulathur where elliptical road over bridge is being constructed by railways and National Highway Authority of India and private lands near Outer Ring road.

The flip side is that the metro rail will run parallel to the suburban rail network which could hit the ridership. Similarly, after Perungalathur there is no settlement on the left hand side. The biggest challenge will be the corridor will have to be taken to second level due to existing structures and proposals for elevated Expressway from Tambaram to Chengalpet. But what made this option successful is the multimodal integration with public transport besides connecting all major traffic generators.

The second option along GST Road till Tambaram and later from Mudichur Road to Kilambakkam, which increases the mass transit network coverage in the south west suburban parts of Chennai, faces challenge as there is no major traffic generator in Mudichur Road and the right of way in the road is inadequate.  The option which starts from airport via Pallavaram, Hasthinapuram, Chitalapakkam, Selaiyur, Tambaram and Tambaram West to Perangulathur, is a 20km stretch where the land acquisition will be maximum. The positive side is that it passes through highly dense residential area, sources added.