The process of acquiring a total of 2,600 hectares for the six-lane, access-controlled Chennai-Bangalore expressway project has begun.

Both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where 160 km of the road is to run, have set the ball rolling by sanctioning staff for the land acquisition units set up by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), thereby making them functional.

This marks the beginning of the greenfield project for the 262-km-long road to Bangalore, whose construction cost alone is estimated to be Rs 7,000 crore.

“The land acquisition units in both the States have begun the work of surveying the project site,” said an official of NHAI.

Of the 2,600 hectares of land required for the project, about 1,000 hectares are required for 100 km of road that is to come up in Tamil Nadu.

“The consultant has completed a survey based on the maps provided by the Survey of India. The details collected have to be verified and authenticated by the [Tamil Nadu] revenue department,” explained an official.

However, in Tamil Nadu, the G.O. for appointing staff for the units is still under process.

“We have requested the government to speed up the process,” the official said.

The NHAI bears the cost of running the units including the salary component of employees.

Meanwhile, the NHAI is also in the process of getting clearance from the National Board of Wildlife for eight kilometre of the expressway.

The road will pass through seven km of the Royal Elephant Reserve in Andhra Pradesh and about 300 metres of the Mahimandalam forest in Vellore district, sources said.