Construction of the Rs 2400 crore elevated corridor was suspended in 2012 by the then Jayalalithaa government.

10 years in limbo Will work on Chennai Port-Maduravoyal flyover begin in 2020Wikimedia Commons/VtTN [CC BY-SA 3.0]
news Infrastructure Friday, January 03, 2020 - 15:49

On New Years’ Eve, a meme of the Chennai Port - Maduravoyal flyover went viral. The meme titled ‘Decade Challenge’ showed two images of the flyover, one from 2010 and one from 2019. Except little had changed on the ground with the incomplete pillars of the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated corridor a testimony of the long delay in executing the project.

The Rs 2400-crore project aimed to decongest Chennai’s roads by constructing an elevated corridor connecting the Chennai Port and Maduravoyal. But three years after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the project’s foundation stone, work was suspended in 2012. This after the government of Tamil Nadu accused the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) of encroaching upon the Cooum river bed. Since then the project has been in limbo, with the under-construction pillars symbolizing the tug of war between the Dravidian rivals.

Now, more than a decade later, the NHAI now claims that work will soon resume on the flyover. Speaking to TNM, a highly-placed source in the NHAI said that the new Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the elevated corridor project is under preparation and the NHAI will call for tenders for the construction in 2020. 

“On Friday we have a meeting with the Central government and this project has been highlighted for discussion. The project is very much on the anvil and in 2020, we will call for tenders to begin construction,” he said. 

The Maduravoyal -Chennai Port elevated corridor was mooted in 2006 by the then DMK government to decongest the traffic of container trucks in Chennai’s arterial roads. The corridor was proposed to connect Chennai Port and Maduravoyal via Poonamallee High Road and Anna Salai. The project was suspended in 2012, a year after J Jayalalithaa assumed power as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The Water Resource Department issued a notice to the NHAI for deviating from the original plan of the road. The state government alleged that the NHAI had erected pillars on the Cooum river bed instead of the river bank and hence was guilty of encroachment. Though in 2014, the Madras High Court gave NHAI the green signal to continue the project, which the state government then challenged in the Supreme Court. However, in July 2019, the Tamil Nadu government under Edappadi Palaniswami chose to withdraw its petition before the top court.

In the end of 2018, the NHAI also changed the alignment of the flyover in consultation with the government of Tamil Nadu, which ended up adding two more kilometres to the length of the road. As per the revised alignment, the 20.3-kilometre-long corridor will have eight ramps for entry and exit. While the entry ramps will come up at Sivananda Salai and College Road, the exit ramps will be at Kamarajar Salai and Spurtank Road. Arumbakkam - Koyambedu, Koyambedu - Nerkundram stretches, Vanagaram and Chennai Port will have both entry and exit ramps, as per reports. The project cost was revised to Rs 2400 crore in 2018 from the earlier estimate of around Rs 1800 crore.

Speaking about the new alignment of the corridor, the source also said that the Chennai Port is in talks with the Ministry of Defense since a portion of the new alignment passes through land owned by the Indian Navy. “Also slum relocation needs to be completed on the path of the project. Of the 1700 settlements, 1500 have been relocated so far and 200 remains,” said the NHAI source. 

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