“Investigations confirmed that the road had caved in owing to the ongoing tunneling works of Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) happening at 18-metre-depth. Notably, a similar incident allegedly due to loose soil pocket was reported barely 15 metres away from the caved in spot on March 30 when foam used to maintain pressure at the head of the cutter of the Tunnel Boring Machine gushed out on Anna Salai. Bus (Route No: 25G) headed to Vadapalani from Anna Square and a sedan car driven by a doctor towards Teynampet plunged into the crater around 2.03 pm when the road caved in, leaving a sinkhole measuring 2-metre-depth, 10-metre in length and 5-metre in width on the middle of the road in front of Thousand Lights bus stop.
Eyewitnesses told DTNext that they heard a screeching sound followed by a thud and people screaming. Auto driver Marimuthu who was waiting near the old subway on the other side of the road said, “We heard the noise from the other lane. We ran, jumped over the concrete barricade and reached the other side where we saw the rear of the bus hanging in the air and car almost buried in the hole on the middle of the road. The front of the car was rubbing against the bus.”
“While driving, I suddenly felt some movement on the ground beneath. It was like an earthquake. I applied the brake and in a moment my car and the bus rubbed against each other. People from the area rushed and helped me climb out of the vehicle,” said Dr Pradeep of the car involved in the accident.
Talking to this newspaper, Managing Director of CMRL, Pankaj Kumar Bansal admitted that the tunnel boring machine from Thousand Lights to DMS was crossing the spot at the time the road caved in due to the presence of loose pockets in the soil there. He added that the repair would be completed by Sunday night though they have sought time till Monday morning to restore the road.