Tenders have been called for the construction of a two tier, four lane elevated corridor from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal under the PM Gati Shakti program.
This 21-km elevated corridor will be constructed in four packages. According to the revised plan, out of the 21 km, 12 km corridor will be a double- decked corridor. It is located between Maduravoyal on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway and the Napier bridge which is close to the Chennai Port gate.
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.
Almost a decade after the project was halted, earlier this year in May, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways, and Civil Aviation Vijay Kumar Singh among the four stakeholders — the Tamil Nadu Government, the National Highways Authority of India, the Chennai Port Authority, and the Indian Navy.
The elevated Corridor will aid in the efficient movement of cargo in and out of the Chennai Port. Currently, trucks are entering and exiting the port through Royapuram, the port’s northern end. The new elevated structure will allow entry and exit through the port’s southern end in the city centre.
The project will be carried out using the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) model. Detailed Project Report (DPR) was prepared by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) , the executing agency for the project. The Chennai Port, the State government and the Centre are jointly implementing the project.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway in 2009. However, the project had encountered numerous controversies due to alignment issues and had to be shelved in the end. Ten years ago, the corridor was going to cost Rs 1,819 crore, but now it will cost Rs 5,862 crore.
A fresh DPR was prepared by NHAI, the executing agency for the project. NHAI is gearing to resume work on the expressway soon and has already confirmed that completed pillars would be put into use after inspecting their structural strength and safety.
As per the report, twin pillars constructed in Chetpet on a span of about 5 km along Koyambedu, Cooum River banks would be used. Two Central government arms – Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) and Indian Navy – have agreed to enter a barter deal for land exchange.
Under the agreement, the Indian Navy will provide the port with 1.09 lakh square feet of land in exchange for an equivalent area closer to the port’s boundary near INS Adyar.
A total of 64 houses will be constructed in the parcel that is being provided by the Chennai Port Trust. Following identification of land for construction of houses for the Navy, the project gained further momentum.
In-principle, approval from the Shipping Ministry was also obtained based on a no-objection certification given by the Indian Navy in Chennai. The Indian Navy also received approval from the Defence Ministry.
The State government has recently taken steps to remove 1,500 of the 1,700 encroachments that were along the alignment of the project.
Surplus Record of Chennai Port and Kamarajar Port
The Chennai Port and the Kamarajar Port handled 87.3 million tonnes of cargo traffic in 2021-22. The former received 48.56 million tonnes, while the latter contributed 38.74 million tonnes. They saw a combined increase of 25.8 percent.
In terms of container cargo, the Chennai Port and the Kamarajar Port combined had a 31.2 percent growth rate and exported 3.06 lakh units of automobiles, representing a 36.7 percent increase over the previous year.
As per The Hindu report, Chennai Port Authority chairman Sunil Paliwal stated that Chennai Port had a net surplus (before tax) of 111.37 crore, the highest in 11 years, while Kamarajar Port had a net surplus (before tax) of 531.95 crore.
Under the Centre’s Sagaramala programme, which was launched to promote port-led development, the Chennai Port had added eight projects and increased capacity by 4.4 million tonnes per year and bring down logistics costs in domestic and EXIM cargo in seven years. Whereas the Kamarajar Port had finished ten projects, gaining capacity in addition to 40.4 million tonnes per year.