Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone on Thursday morning for the construction of coffer dam at the Polavaram project site in West Godavari district. The mega project, being built on the Godavari as a national project, reached a critical stage with the commencement of work on coffer dam.

The Chief Minister unveiled a pylon to mark the construction of coffer dam and spill channel iconic bridge to attract tourists.

He said the work on the project had been expedited and the coffer dam would be completed in a year's time and water would be released into the canals by next June even before the completion of the main dam. He inspected the works on the spillway, the diaphragm wall and the construction of 48 crest gates and expressed confidence that the project would be completed on schedule.

He said there would be no shortage of drinking water or irrigation water, or for industrial needs, in the two Godavari districts once the project is completed.

Godavari water was also being diverted to stabilise the Krishna delta from Pattiseema lift irrigation project on the Godavari. This year roughly 100 TMC ft of Godavari water would be diverted to Krishna delta through Pattiseema, he said.

He said the Polavaram project site could also be developed as a major tourist attraction in the two Godavari districts.

The coffer dam is designed for a 100 year return flood of 28.6 lakh cusecs. The dam will be built with a length of 2340.0 meteres at top level 42.5 m and top width 9.0 metres and base width 137 mts. The coffer dam jet grouting is undertaken by Keller India.

The Chief Minister said the iconic bridge on the spill channel was being constructed to develop the project site as a tourist spot. He said as Papikondalu and Pattiseema were nearby, tourism should be developed at the Polavaram project site and a museum would be set up explaining the progress of the works.

"All the men, machinery and material have been made ready at the project site and work will really gather momentum from now on," he said.