The 20.5 km Chennai port to Maduravoyal elevated corridor project developed at an estimated cost of ₹5,800 crore will be completed by December 2024, said Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
In a series of tweets, the Minister said the proposed elevated stretch would be developed in four sections and will start inside the Chennai Port and end after the Maduravoyal interchange.
Dedicated freight corridor
The project will serve as a dedicated freight corridor for Chennai bound port traffic and increase the handling capacity of Chennai Port by 48 per cent and reduce the waiting time at the port by 6 hours, he said.
In July, tenders were called for the construction of a double tier four-lane elevated corridor on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) mode under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
The work for the 20-km-long elevated corridor, which was to cost ₹1,819 crore 10 years ago, will now cost ₹5,862 crore and will have 13 ramps.
At present, a truck from the south or west has to take the Ring Road at Perungalathur towards Maduravoyal, Red Hills, Tiruvottiyur and enter the Chennai port in Royapuram — nearly 75 km away, taking about two hours. However, using the elevated corridor, it will take just 45 minutes.
Foundation laid in 2009
Interestingly, two Prime Ministers are involved in kick-starting the project. The first foundation stone was laid by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009 and recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi again kick-started the project.
The project conceived during the earlier DMK regime was stalled due to want of environmental clearance and alignment issues when the AIADMK returned to power in 2011. Many changes were suggested, but shot down. In 2018, The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) terminated the contract, with only 20 per cent of the road completed.
The project nearly doubles Chennai port’s container handling capacity to 2.64 million TEUs, says government data.