Following the Madras High Court’s verdict on Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated expressway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials have asked the State Highway Secretary to convene meeting at the earliest by inviting Public Works Department Secretary to take the project forward.

On Thursday, NHAI officials started the spadework as the High Court had asked all the stakeholders to work in tandem for early completion of the Rs.1,815 crore project that includes relief and rehabilitation cost of Rs. 470 crore.

According to sources, it would take at least two to three months to mobilise men and material as the project was stalled some two years ago. NHAI would once again request the State government to acquire land and clear the encroachment.

“We are in touch with the concessionaire Soma Enterprises, who have demanded close to Rs.1,000 crore as compensation for cost incurred due to idling of project. For the time being, we have declined their claims. We will ask the State government officials to support Soma Enterprises by providing all sorts of support needed for this project,” the official said.

While welcoming the verdict, Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jawahar Vadivelu said this judgment came at an appropriate time as the State government was keen on stepping up infrastructure development. Further, this project would serve as the model for overall infrastructure development in the State giving much needed fillip to the existing road sector in the State.

Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairman of export committee on logistic, J. Krishnan said, “With this major bottleneck has been removed. The project has to be executed speedily to address the congestion issue of the Chennai Port. Further, it would also reduce the operating cost of the trade.”