CHENNAI: With the State government giving an ‘in-principle’ approval for upgrading East Coast Road (ECR) into four lanes, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is to take up road widening on an 82-km stretch between Mamallapuram and Puducherry.
Since the four-lane road widening works of 150 km between Puducherry and Nagapttinam have already commenced, motorists will have four lanes for 275 kms between Tiruvanmiyur and Nagapattinam on ECR in the next two years. This will decongest the Chennai-Tiruchy NH. On Monday, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways sought objections from land owners for acquiring lands for Mamallapuram-Puducherry road work. A notice was displayed at taluk offices in Kancheepuram district.
According to official sources, Tamil Nadu Road Development Company, which maintains 133 kms of ECR from Akkarai to Puducherry, has already completed land acquisition for the four-lane project.
However, more lands are to be acquired by NHAI in over 30 villages including Poonjeri, Permaleri, Kadampadi, Kunnathur, Cuddalore, Koovathur and Pudhupattinam for the project for future widening.
“The existing road from Mamallapuram to Kizhputhupattu (Puducherry) has 12.5 to 15 metres width. Considering future expansion into six lanes, lands for about 64-metre width are to be acquired. Additional lands are also required as the new road has to be laid while straightening the curves,” said official sources.
The 690 km ECR road that starts at Tiruvamiyur passes through coastal areas of Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Karaikal, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari districts, besides Puducherry and Karaikal.
Though the widening of ECR into a four-lane road was proposed in 2009 at an estimated cost of `1,400 crore, it failed to take off as the project was considered not financially viable. It was stated that the road may not attract adequate traffic to generate revenue.
However, the 33-km road stretch from Akkarai and Mamallapuram was widened into four-lane by TNRDC, a separate venture of State highways wing and thrown open for traffic in 2016. “A 150 km stretch between Puducherry and Nagapattinam is being widened into four lanes by NHAI as part of Villupuram- Nagapattinam road project. Once completed, the 273-km four lane road will immensely benefit both coastal districts and central parts of Tamil Nadu,” sources said.
The milestones on ECR have been renumbered from SH- 49 to NH 332 A between Puducherry and Nagapattinam. However, officials from TNRDC maintained that the road is still with the State government and yet to be handed over to NHAI.
82 kms- of ECR, from Mamallapuram to Puducherry, to be widened; land acquisition has begun
150 kms-Stretch between Puducherry and Nagapattinam being widened by NHAI
275 kms-Stretch of the ECR — from Tiruvamiyur to Nagapattinam — that will have four lanes
133 kms- of Akkarai - Puducherry stretch maintained by TNRDC
State government has given approval ‘in principle’ to upgrade the road ECR renumbered as NH 332 A