In place of the ambitious four-lane elevated expressway between the Chennai Port Trust and Maduravoyal spanning 20.5 kms that was being planned earlier, the Centre has now proposed a double-decker flyover at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari made the announcement on Wednesday and added that it would reduce traffic congestion in the city to a great extent.
"Once the project is cleared, for next 20-25 years it would resolve the problem for Chennai", he said. Noting that the project cost would escalate to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 3,100 crore as planned earlier, Gadkari said he suggested to the Chief Minister that the GST for steel and cement would be exempted for this project enabling the state government to save Rs 500 crore.
"Another Rs 1,000 crore will be borne by the Central government and NHAI," the Union minister said. Asked when the project was likely to be completed, Gadkari said, "It is up to the chief minister to clear the proposal."
The Union minister of road transport and highways, who was on a private visit to the city, said work on the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway would also commence soon. During his brief interaction with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Gadkari suggested that the flyover be designed as a double-decker one by bringing in international consultants in place of four lanes as planned earlier.
In August this year, the Environment Ministry had granted its sign of approval for the project and recommended for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance with some conditions.
About the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway project, he said land acquisition was completed, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the commencment of the project. Referring to his last visit to the State, Gadkari said he had then requsted CM Palaniswami to partner in the development of a multi-modal logistics park in Chennai. "The state government has agreed to provide land near Chennai that is near Port Trust and (they are) planning to bid it out before January 2021," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)