CHENNAI: It has been more than three years since the State government gave an ‘in-principle approval’ for transferring the 61.4 km East Coast Road stretch between Mamallapuram and Marakkanam to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for widening it into four-lane. The road, however, is yet to be handed over to NHAI for upgrading.
It is reliably learnt that the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC), a separate venture under State Highways that developed ECR between Akkarai and Puducherry, has sought compensation from the State government for settling the bank loans before transferring the road to NHAI.
On August 30, four toll gates of TNRDC on Rajiv Gandhi Salai and its link road were closed. Presently, a toll plaza, maintained by TNRDC, at Anumandai on ECR near Marakkanam collects user fees from vehicles. The transfer of the toll gate to NHAI is expected to cause revenue loss to TNRDC, thereby affecting the repayment of their pending dues to banks. However, TNRDC officials claimed there was no administrative hindrance in transferring ECR to NHAI.
The ECR, which has a four-lane between Thiruvanmiyur and Mamallapuram, shrinks to two-lane beyond that. In a bid to improve the road connectivity to Puducherry, the Union government in 2018 had proposed to widen the 107-km stretch from Mamallapuram to Puducherry. Initially, it was proposed to take up the 61.4 km stretch between Mamallapuram and Marakkanam at a cost of Rs 1209 crore under the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I (Highways project).
Accordingly, NHAI prepared a detailed project report in 2019 and invited bids for widening the ECR to four-lane in two packages. The width of the existing ECR – 7 to 14 metres – was set to be widened into 60 to 70 metres, with service lanes to be introduced along the stretch at select places. The proposed road was designed to eliminate ‘U’ turns and prevent road accidents. The road widening would also involve realignment and straightening of the existing curves on ECR.
Official sources from NHAI said tender works have been completed for one of the stretches. “ECR between Mamallapuram and Koonimedu is yet to be handed over to us. Once the road is transferred, the works will commence soon. Land survey has been completed for the widening of the 45 km between Marakkanam and Puducherry.”
A senior official from TNRDC said, “ECR will be transferred to NHAI after the completion of 80 per cent of land acquisition for the proposed road expansion projects. The road has already been renumbered and there is no administrative embargo.”
Project details: Mamallapuram - Marakkanam
Widening of 31 km between Mamallapuram and Mugaiyur Cost: Rs 617.47 cr
Vehicular underpass & bridges at 14 locations
- Pooncheri - Chengalpattu road
- Koovathur villages
VUP & bridges at 11 locations
Three bypasses for 12.7 km - at Vengapakkam (3.32 km), Meiyur (4.38 km) and Gundumanicherry - Koovathur (5 km)
Four-laning of 30.4 km stretch from Mugaiyur to Marakkanam Cost: Rs 592.44 cr
New road for straightening of curves for 13.9 km at Mugaiyur, Vilambur, Kadapakkam and Marakkanam