NHAI refuses to seek fresh approval, suggested by WRD, for alignment

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has said that it will not seek fresh approval for the alignment of the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated expressway.

In a letter despatched to the Water Resources Department, the NHAI has said that it felt there was no necessity for fresh approval and fresh Coastal Regulation Zone clearance as there was no deviation in the alignment.

Recently, the WRD had written to the NHAI asking them to seek revised Coastal Regulation Zone clearance for the project that runs along the banks of the Cooum river.

The Rs. 1,815-crore project had been put on hold after the WRD asked the NHAI to stop work last March as it felt that the highways authority had deviated from the alignment that was originally approved.

“Wherever piers have come up, it is our responsibility to ensure discharge of 25,000 cusecs of water. The apprehension of the WRD that the capacity of the Cooum will be restricted due to our piers, and that neighbouring areas will be flooded during rains is not based on any technical study. Flooding takes place in locations where bridges have been constructed across the river and discharges at those spots are reduced to as little as 10,000 cusecs,” the letter said.

The NHAI further said that it proposed to increase the carrying capacity of the river by removal of encroachments and dredging. “The river will get a facelift on completion of this project and slum dwellers residing along the banks will be rehabilitated. The project will also prevent future encroachments,” the letter said.

Till last March, nearly Rs. 500 crore had been spent on the project that will allow containers proceeding from and to Chennai Port to exit and enter the port without utilising other arterial roads. Presently, hundreds of heavy containers are allowed to enter the port by utilising the Poonamallee High Road at night.

On completion, it will also help residents of Poonamallee, Sriperumbudur and surrounding villages to travel to the city in just half an hour. 

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