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Editorial: The Elevated Cost

Chennai, 6 Oct 2021:

The detailed project report for the long-pending Port-Maduravoyal expressway project will be completed within three months, the state highway department said recently. The elevated corridor which was started in 2008 was a non-starter for several years.

It started with a bang during the DMK regime but was stalled for want of environment clearance and issues related to alignment when the AIADMK returned to power in 2011.

The stalled 19-km Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway Corridor for which the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation way back in 2009 for Rs1,468 crore. L&T has been asked to give a new design to build a two-layer corridor.

Some eight years later the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed to redesign the corridor and accordingly the project has been modified into a double-deck flyover at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore.

The state highway department has also confirmed the proposal. According to the new proposed design, the upper deck would be used by the heavy vehicles like trucks and the lower deck could be used for public vehicles.

The redesigned corridor will have ramps and exit at 13 places. including Chinthatripet, Monteith Road, Binny Road, Spurtank Road, Aminjikarai Police Station, Kamaraj Salai, Sivananda Salai, College Road and Arumbakkam .

The previous project design envisaged only six entry and exit points. Review work on the service roads to constructed underneath the flyover is underway. Once completed this will be the first double-deck corridor in the country and will help cut the transporters time to reach the Port destination within 30 minutes instead of 3 hours. 

 “L&T will give a new design for the project within a month,” said Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MMSE. “A design was presented to me on the project, but I rejected it. I have suggested that they take a good consultant and make it a two-layered flyover,” he said reviewing various National Highway projects in Tamil Nadu.

“At the ground level, there will be a road; above it, there will be a flyover and another above that. The suggested change is because the traffic density is very high,” he said.

“I had a discussion with them (consultants) today. We will clear it. We will find all solutions as far as traffic jams and pollution is concerned. The flyover is very important for the Chennai port also. Traffic for the port will directly go in the flyover and the project will reduce the traffic congestion in Chennai,” he said.

The elevated corridor begins at Chennai Port Gate No. 10 and travels along the bank of the Cooum River till it reaches Koyambedu and along the median of NH4 thereon till it reaches Maduravoyal.

The project got the environment clearance in February 2011, and during the same month, the port handed over a cheque for Rs 50 crore to the NHAI as part of its contribution to the project. However, the State government asked the contractor to stop work in 2012 due to realignment issues. When initial objections were raised by the State government, NHAI then suggested several alternatives, but all were rejected.

In 2018, the NHAI had terminated the agreement with the contractor with only 20 per cent of the 19-km road completed.

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