Work has finally commenced on the long-stalled Rs 5,885 crore Chennai Port to Maduravoyal elevated expressway project.
The project encompasses the construction of a new double Tier 4-lane Elevated Corridor stretching from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal in Tamil Nadu.
J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd, based in Mumbai, has initiated groundwork on the Cooum River near Casino Theatre in the heart of the city.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded the Chennai Elevated Corridor to J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd at a total project cost of Rs 3,570 crore, with the remaining expenses allocated to land acquisition and river restoration charges.
The project, divided into four packages, is executed in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
Thirteen bidders, including Afcons, Tata Projects and Kalpataru Power Transmission, participated in the bidding process. However, J Kumar and Afcons were the only two companies to bid for all four packages, covering different segments of the corridor.
The Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, originally initiated in 2009 at a cost of Rs 1,468 crore, faced numerous controversies and was eventually shelved by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government citing environmental and alignment issues, as per The Hindu report.
The project was revived when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government returned to power two years ago, signing an MoU in May 2022 for the expressway at a revised cost of Rs 5,885 crore. The stakeholders involved include the Tamil Nadu government, NHAI, the Chennai Port Authority, and the Indian Navy.
The double-decker corridor, spanning 21 kilometres, will connect Chennai Port with the Chennai-Bengaluru Highway and the industrial corridors at Sriperumbudur and Oragadam.
The first level of the corridor facilitates the movement of light vehicles between Koyambedu and Chennai Port. The corridor has ramps for entry and exit at 13 different locations.
They include Chintadripet, Monteith Road, Binny Road, Spurtank Road, Aminjikarai Police Station, Kamaraj Salai, Sivananda Salai, College Road and Arumbakkam.
The second level was designed specifically for heavy motor vehicles between Chennai Port and Maduravoyal.
Currently, cargo traffic from the south or west region of the state has to detour through the Outer Ring Road at Perungalathur towards Maduravoyal, Red Hills, Tiruvottiyur and enter the Chennai Port in Royapuram — nearly 75 km away, taking about two hours.
However, using the proposed elevated corridor will take just 45 minutes.
The project will serve as a dedicated freight corridor for Chennai-bound port traffic and increase the handling capacity of Chennai Port by 48 per cent and reduce the waiting time at the port by six hours.