The project also involves other passenger amenities for multi-modal integration to link suburban trains, MRTS and metro rail with outstation trains and buses through pedestrian subways, underground parking and a 20-storey central plaza with bus bays.
Earlier this year, Southern Railway had refused approval for the beautification work in front of Central Railway Station and Moore Market Complex citing obstruction to passenger flow. This slowed down the project. However, the work planned in front of Ripon Buildings has been in full swing.
A Southern Railway official said they have given permission to CMRL to carry out Central Square developmental works on railway land near Chennai Central and MMC. “We have communicated it to CMRL. The work will include landscaping, seating, canopies and pergolas, pathways among others,” the official said.
A CMRL official added that work in front of the Ripon Buildings will be completed by the end of this month. “Southern Railway gave us the nod for beautifying their premises just two days ago. The work we have planned in front of Central and MMC will take two months. We will remove the existing cement blocks on the surface and have a new paving apart from other features,” the official said.
While work for the pedestrian subways and the underground parking is underway, CMRL will soon float a tender to look for an investor for the construction of the multi-storied Central Plaza. The plaza is expected to have office spaces, a shopping area and hotel, and a waiting lounge for passengers and bus crew. The plaza will have bus bays on the front for local and outstation buses to pick up and drop off passengers. “We have planned a three-level underground parking. Excavation is going on for the bottom two levels,” the official said.