NHAI to get permission for road to pass through elephant reserve

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of getting clearance from the National Board of Wildlife, for 8 km of the proposed Chennai-Bangalore Expressway.

The green field project road will pass through 7 km of the Royal Elephant Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, and about 300 metres of the Mahimandalam forest in Vellore district.

Officials at NHAI said that after having made changes in the alignment, they needed about 67 acres of land in the elephant reserve.

“Under the earlier alignment, the road cut across the forest in four locations but that has been brought down to just one location now,” explained an official.

The Union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) had recently asked the NHAI to identify routes used by elephants so that underpasses could be built for vehicles. “The project consultant has already studied and suggested two underpasses. We have also requested the district forest officer, Chittoor, to look at our proposal,” the official said.

The MOEF had also asked the NHAI to explore the possibilities of utilisation of fly ash in embankment construction, to look at the possibility of cooled mix technology instead of the regular hot mix and for details of water bodies along the alignment of the project.

“These are all under preparation presently and we are likely to get MOEF clearance in a year’s time by when land acquisition is likely to be completed,” the official said.

The six-lane, access-controlled road will be 262 km long and require around 2,600 hectares of land. The expressway, which has been proposed under the National Highways Development Project, will pass through Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and take the Kolar, Chittoor route.

On completion, it will be an alternative to the two existing roads to Bangalore – the one passing through Kolar and Chittoor and the Hosur, Krishnagiri and Walajapet route.  

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