To fulfil the long pending demand of the Japanese companies here, the State government on Monday said a road over-bridge (RoB) will be constructed at Athipattu in Tiruvallur district to facilitate transportation of heavy equipment from Manali Industrial Area to Ennore Port.

The RoB will be constructed either by the State government or by the Railways. A final decision to this effect will be taken by the month end, said officials after attending a high-level meeting presided over by the Prime Minister’s Adviser, T.K.A. Nair. The meeting was attended by various stakeholders, including the Industries department, State and National Highways, and Chennai and Ennore ports.

As the present RoB at Athipattu is weak, the Japanese firms, which have business interests in the area, had requested the State government for construction of a new bridge that could withstand the load of wind turbines weighing over 500 tonnes. Ennore Port will be used as a gateway for exporting such special equipment.

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Director General, Shinya Fujii, as of October 2012, as many as 344 firms had invested in the State. Since then, JETRO has been getting enquiries from 300 to 400 Japanese firms with investment plans. About 120 companies have invested over $203 billion in Tamil Nadu and provided over 52,000 jobs.

Mr. Nair has been visiting Chennai since November 2011 to review crucial infrastructure projects including the 30-km long Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project, which connects Ennore Port with Chennai Port, and the construction of the RoB at Athipattu.

Talking to The Hindu, a senior official said the government had asked the Railways to construct an RoB adjacent to the existing one.

The new bridge would have the capacity to handle a single load of 575 tonnes of heavy equipment against the old bridge’s capacity of 300 to 350 tonnes. It would cost roughly Rs.35 crore and could be constructed in a year’s time. The exact cost would be known only after the design was ready.

A former Industry Secretary, who did not want to be named, said the construction of RoB could have been completed three or four years ago. But, they underestimated the project cost and did not allocate sufficient funds.

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