The East Coast Road expansion from Mamallapuram to Kanyakumari into four-lane highway was being taken up at a cost of 24,435 crore, said Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari in the Parliament on Wednesday.
The Union ministry has, however, entrusted a section – Tuticorin-Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari – to the state highways department for development. The entire project involves 697kms of road network.
Responding to a query from MDMK chief Vaiko and DMK MP M Shanmugam, Gadkari said the stretch from Mamallapuram to Kanyakumari had been taken up for four-laning with divided carriageway, including construction of grade separators, flyovers and vehicular underpasses, wherever required, based on a detailed project report study for seamless and safe movement of both vehicular and pedestrian movement. Most of the stretches in the alignment, sources said, would go greenfield instead of disturbing the towns enroute.
Of the eight sections, the NHAI has fixed November this year as the deadline to complete widening of Puducherry-Poondiyankuppam (Cuddalore) stretch. The 38km stretch has seen 42% physical progress until February. Similarly, the 31km long Mamallapuram-Mugaiyur section is set to be completed by May next year. Work progresses well along Poondiyankuppam-Sattanathapuram-Nagapattinam section, covering about 113kms. Work is expected to commence shortly along the 31km Mugaiyur-Marakkanam section. A concession agreement has been signed with the contractor.
The NHAI has invited bids to develop the 46km Marakkanam- Puducherry section, while preparation of a detailed project report is in progress for Nagapattinam-Ramanathapuram-Tuticorin section, and the project is likely to be awarded in the next fiscal on completion of acquisition of land and obtaining necessary clearances, sources said.
Initially, the NHAI took up preparation of a detailed project report for Tuticorin-Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari section. However, subsequent instructions from the ministry led to transferring the work to the NH wing of the state highways. A tripartite supplementary agreement was signed by the NHAI, state government and the consultant on January 9. According to sources, the state highways has sent a proposal for land acquisition, including setting up of exclusive units to execute the work fast. “It hopes to complete the section by 2024. The state government is extending full support to the NHAI to complete the entire project,” a senior official told. Thiruvanmiyur to Mamallapuram section of the ECR comes under the state highways.