The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has recommended the proposal for the development of the new four-lane elevated road from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal (NH-4) for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance.

“The Committee after detailed deliberations and considering the submissions made by the project proponent recommended the proposal for CRZ Clearance, in supersession of the CRZ clearance dated September 23, 2020,” according to the minutes of the EAC meeting held on January 17.

The role of the EAC for projects related to CRZ is to recommend to the Ministry project proposals after considering the various impacts of the project. Based on the recommendations, the Ministry either rejects the proposal or grants a clearance.

The ₹5,721 crore project was forwarded by the Chief Engineer, Chennai Port Authority, ChennaiCRZ Clearance. The Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority on December 5, 2022, recommended the proposal for clearance.

Recommendations made

The EAC’s recommendation is subject to conditions like the construction of the pier in areas crossing rivers to be undertaken in consultation with the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department. No groundwater shall be extracted to meet the water requirements during the construction and/or operation phase of the project.

The conditions stipulated by the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority issued on December 5 will be followed.

The Committee suggested that if such piles are proposed to be used in the project, structural aspects of piles shall be vetted through IIT Chennai/other reputed agencies.

The project construction works commenced in 2009 while the CRZ Clearance for the proposed development was first obtained in 2011. However, it stalled in 2012. And in June 2016, the validity of the CRZ Clearance was up to February 2021.

Project details

The alignment of the proposed elevated corridor falls in two districts — Chennai and Tiruvallur. The project corridor starts from inside Chennai Port and ends after the Maduravoyal interchange.

Of the total alignment, 9.70 km falls in the CRZ area thereby attracting provisions of CRZ Notification and requiring necessary CRZ Clearance for the development. This portion of the alignment lies within the Chennai Metropolitan area in Chennai District.

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 October 2022.

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 will take just 45 minutes, a trucker said recently.