₹1,800-crore project was stalled by the State PWD seeking realignment

The Madras High Court has ordered commencement of the stalled 19-km Chennai port-Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor project, which was conceived for speedy evacuation of containers from the port.

Ministry nod

The ₹1,800-crore project was stalled last year by the Public Works Department (PWD) seeking realigning of the expressway, which the department said encroached the River Cooum in some parts.

A division bench comprising Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass set aside the impugned orders of January 28, 2013 and March 29 passed by Chief Engineer of PWD.

It also directed the State Government and all contesting respondents to extend full co-operation for speedy completion of the project, which has already been started after getting Coastal Regulation Zone clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

P Wilson, Additional Solicitor General appearing for NHAI submitted that for movement of cargo, free traffic to Chennai port is essential.

To reach the port, vehicles now have to travel through National Highway-45, NH-4 and NH-5. With traffic restrictions, container trucks and cargo carriers are not allowed to enter into the city during day time, up to 8 p.m.

Therefore, it was decided to construct a Chennai bypass road.

Traffic congestion

Every day, 11,901 vehicles enter and exit the Chennai port through four gates and 5,398 trucks pass through only through Gate No.1.

Considering the necessity of reaching the Port easily and also to avoid traffic congestion in the city, the mega project was mooted at the instance of the State and the Central Government, he said.

The bench said that undertaking given by teh National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to maintain free flow of sewerage/rain water in the Cooum at the maximum level of 25,000 cusecs at all times is recorded.

At the time of construction also NHAI and the concessionaire are directed to see that there is free flow of water in the river and the construction debris and material do not obstruct the flow of water, the bench said.

(This article was published on February 20, 2014)
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