CHENNAI: Even as the land survey for the Chennai-Salem Express Highway project is progressing, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has commenced the preliminary work for the Thanjavur-Madurai greenfield project recently.
According to officials, the project involves developing a new road between Thanjavur and Karaikudi via Pudukottai for about 95 to 100 km and widening the existing 46-km two-lane road from Karaikudi to Melur into four lanes under the Bharatmala Pariyojana - I.
Currently, the distance between Thanjavur and Madurai via Tiruchy by road is about 190 km and 176 km via Manamadurai-Thanjavur road (two-lane State highway). The greenfield project is expected to reduce the travel distance by 15 to 20 km, according to sources privy to this discussion. “The alignment of the proposed project is being studied. Widening of existing state highways is not feasible as agriculture land would get affected. The greenfield alignment is being planned, which requires least amount of agriculture land,” said a NHAI official.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has already accorded approval in principle, and a preliminary report is being prepared to seek the final approval for the project.
The proposed road will also be an access-controlled road and the vehicular underpass will be provided for every 2.5 km en route. “Similar to the Chennai-Salem express highway, the road would get closed on both ends so as to maintain the 100-to-120 km speed,” added the official sources.
To widen the 46-km stretch of the Karaikudi-Melur (located about 26 km from Madurai) two-lane road into four lanes at ` 767.57 crore, the NHAI recently invited bids.
The Thanjavur-Karaikudi-Melur-Madurai road is expected to decongest the NH 45 as it would create an alternative routes to Madurai, Tiruneveli, Ramanathapuram from Chennai. The four-lane work between Vikkiravandi and Thanjavur has been in progress.
On completion of the Vikkiravandi-Thanajavur four-lane works, commuters from Chennai can reach Madurai via Vikkiravandi-Thanjavur-Karaikudi-Melur-Madurai. In addition to this, commuters can also have another route to the southern parts of Tamil Nadu via Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Sirkazhi, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur.
Currently, the Chennai-Mahabalipuram section has four lanes, while the widening work between Mahabalipuram and Puducherry is to be taken soon. The Puducherry-Cuddalore- Sirkazhi section has two lanes and is being proposed to be widened as part of the Villupuram-Nagapattinam four-lane project. The Sirkazhi-Mayiladuthurai-Kumabakonam stretch will also be widened.
to be decongested due to the proposed Thanjavur-Karaikudi-Melur-Madurai road. It would also create alternative routes to Madurai, Tiruneveli, Ramanathapuram from Chennai. The four-lane work between Vikkiravandi and Thanjavur has been in progress