NHAI Steps Up Pace On Two Long Delayed Expressway Projects In Chennai

Pune-Katraj National Highway (MoRTH)

The National Highway Authority Of India (NHAI) has floated a tender for the construction of a six-lane elevated expressway between Poonamallee and Sriperumbudur along the Chennai-Bengaluru National Highway, the New Indian Express has reported.

The proposed 13.7-km expressway will connect the Chennai Outer Ring Road at Nemilicheri with Sriperumbudur, the industrial hub in the outskirts of Chennai and is estimated to cost Rs 2165.27 crore, the paper quoted NHAI official as saying. The project, which aims to decongest the National Highway 48 between Poonamallee and Sriperumbudur, has been on paper for several years.

This proposed express highway, in tandem with the 18.3-km Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated expressway, will provide uninterrupted connectivity between the Chennai Port and Sriperumbudur by forming a 42-km elevated corridor.

Approved in May 2009 and originally scheduled to be completed by September 2013, the construction of Chennai Port-Maduravoyal port corridor was stopped in March 2012. Around 15 per cent of the project was completed by then. Initially estimated to cost Rs 1,345 crores, the project cost has now escalated significantly due to the new land acquisition act.

Though the official reason stated for suspension of the project was a dispute between the Water Resources Department of Tamil Nadu and the NHAI over alignment issues, it is well known that late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa scrapped it because the ambitious project was initiated by the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime. It came as no surprise that the state cabinet gave the nod for the revival of the project within months of Jayalalithaa's demise in December 2016.

A new Detailed Project Report on Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated expressway is being prepared by NHAI based on a report submitted by a technical committee and is likely to be completed by April.

The Outer Ring Road-Sriperumbudur project will also be an extension of the upcoming Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway. In case of the 265-km six-lane expressway between Bengaluru and Chennai, the NHAI has already invited tenders for construction of the project's first phase covering about 10 per cent of the total distance at an estimated cost of Rs 1,119 crore.

The expressway project will be executed in five phases: Bengaluru to Kolar; Kolar to Palamaner; Palamaner to Chittoor; Chittoor to Kanchipuram and Kanchipuram to Sriperumbudur. The two proposed elevated expressways will provide the last mile connectivity to Chennai.

Before executing all expressway projects, NHAI is insisting on the completion of at least 80 per cent land acquisition.

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