The detailed project report for the proposed widening of East Coast Road between Akkarai and Mamallapuram, a distance of 33.5 km, is expected to be completed by September.

The consultants will shortly mark a central line, which will serve as the median after the widening. It will also be an indicator of how much land needs to be acquired for the project on either side. STUP Consultants Private Ltd, appointed to prepare the DPR, will also give details pertaining to the financial viability of the project and as to how it can be funded.

The consultant will also be required to work out the modalities for straightening 13 curves and recommend measures to improve seven traffic junctions in the 79.7-km stretch from Mamallapuram to Keezh Puthupattu near Puducherry.

Sources in Tamil Nadu Road Development Company, which maintains and operates the road, said that the work on the DPR began in March. While permitting the TNRDC to go ahead with the report last year, the State government also sanctioned Rs.1.43 crore towards it.

A feasibility study conducted in December 2009 by SAI Consulting Engineers Ltd recommended that making the two-lane road into a four-lane facility was a must due to increase in traffic.

The sources added that the 113.2-km-long ECR runs through 154 villages and tolling operations began in March 2002. From 6,000 vehicles per day then, the volume has increased to nearly 8,130 vehicles. On weekends, it goes past the 10,000-a-day mark.

The feasibility study suggested that land be acquired in one-go for widening the entire stretch.

It estimated the acquisition to cost Rs.365 crore. The cost of laying the road for phase-I till Mamallapuram was estimated to be Rs.278 crore and for phase-II upto Keezh Puthupattu Rs.653 crore.

The other improvements suggested include installation of nine-foot overbridges, two cattle crossings and laying of service lanes for 16.6 km. The road would have median and the portions with service lanes would also have footpaths.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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