Source : www.newindianexpress.com | Dated : Jun 21, 2019
CHENNAI: Three years after the AIADMK government gave nod for the Chennai Port- Maduravoyal elevated expressway project, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has constituted a committee to study the feasibility on the mode of funding for the project.
The committee, comprising senior officials from Chennai Port Trust, NHAI and state highways, will study if the project should be taken up under build-operate-transfer (BOT) or should be funded by the NHAI itself. “The committee members have met twice to discuss the funding pattern and related issues. They are yet to arrive on a decision,” said an official from the NHAI.
Initially, the state government and Chennai Port Trust had agreed to share the project cost of Rs1,800 crore. The project, which began in September 2010, was aimed to ease the city traffic and enable free movement of freight to the port.
After the AIADMK was voted to power in 2011, then CM J Jayalalithaa opposed the project, stating that it would have an adverse impact on the environment and could also result in flooding of residential areas on either side of the river during monsoons. The government had also defended its decision stating that 14km — of the 18.3 km of the elevated expressway — run above Coovum river. The pillars were erected on the river.
The NHAI resumed the project after the government signed the state support agreement (SSA) for the project in December 2016. The authorities have also completed the detailed project report (DPR) and estimated that the project would be taken up at Rs2,600 crore. There is no deviation from the alignment of the project. “We need to acquire around 14,000sq.m of defence land near Napier Bridge for the road project which Chennai Port Trust has assured,” said the official.
Experts, along with consultants, examined the 5km-long twin pillars constructed over Coovum river in Chetpet and Koyambedu seven years ago. “Pillars are in good condition. The pillars are good enough to withstand for 100 years,” said the official.
The NHAI is also preparing a DPR to extend the elevated expressway up to 10km from Maduravoyal to Ponnamallee to ensure free movement of freight to the port, said another official.