Preliminary work for construction of an elevated expressway between Chennai port and Maduravoyal along the Cooum is under way.

The project was recently accorded the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Testing of pile foundation and laying of temporary road along a bank of the river for the project is in progress near Ethiraj Salai in Egmore.

The four-lane elevated expressway project was envisaged by the Chennai Port Trust and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as a measure to improve connectivity for heavy vehicles from and to Chennai port.

The 20 metre-wide elevated expressway covering a distance of 19 km would begin from the War Memorial gate of the Chennai Port Trust and run along the banks of the Cooum up to Koyambedu. The expressway would end along the Cooum near the Koyambedu grade separator. From there for a distance of three km up to Maduravoyal the elevated expressway would come up on Poonamallee High Road.

Sources at the NHAI said the work at the Maduravoyal end began in December last year. There would be a total of four entry and exit ramps as part of the project.

While the entry ramps would come up on Sivananda Salai and College Road, the exit points would be provided on Spurtank Road and Kamaraj Salai.

The project is being implemented on a build, own and transfer mode.

Of the total project cost of Rs.1,655 crore, Rs.310 crore has been set aside for land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement of nearly 7,400 people living along the project area.

About 1,300 people have been rehabilitated at Okkiam Thoraipakkam, according to sources.

The State government and the Chennai Port Trust would contribute towards the cost of land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement. Of 30 hectares to be acquired for the project, only two hectares belong to private owners. Land acquisition is in advanced stage, according to the sources in NHAI.

The launch of work on the project, for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone in January 2009, was delayed owing to environment clearance. The authorities concerned are confident of completing the project by end of 2013.

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