Prime Minister to lay foundation stone of Chennai expressway

January 6th, 2009 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghChennai, Jan 6 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone for the 19-km elevated expressway connecting Chennai Port and Maduravoyal here Thursday. “The corridor, being built at an outlay of Rs.1,655 crore (Rs.16.55 billion), will be completed in three years,” Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R.Baalu told reporters here Tuesday.

The elevated expressway, having three entry and exit points, will take off from inside the Chennai Port near the War Memorial gate and run along the banks of the Cooum river for the sector between Chennai Port and Koyambedu and then along National Highway 4 till Maduravoyal.

According to Baalu, 40 percent of the project cost will be financed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as viability gap funding.

“Fifty percent of the land cost (Rs.3.10 billion) will be borne by the state government and Chennai Port while the balance will be met by the private party,” he added.

Queried on the high percentage of viability gap funding for the tolled corridor when the traffic is expected to increase, he said it was based on the consultants report and after detailed study.

The concession period for the successful bidder, Soma Enterprises Limited, is 15 years that includes the construction period.

According to Baalu, the Chennai Port Trust is progressing with its plans to build a mega terminal to handle five million twenty equivalent foot units (TEUs) at an outlay of Rs.Rs.3,686 crore (36.86 billion) on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

“The tender process is on. The draft depth will not be less than 20 metres so that very large tankers can be berthed,” he added.

This would be the third container terminal for the Chennai Port as it has one up and running and another under construction.

Unlike the other two terminals, the challenge in respect of the mega terminal is the construction of a breakwater.

According to senior port official, it has to be seen whether the potential bidders would be interested in building the breakwater as well.

“Once that is done, there can be an oil terminal also as that does not need any hinterland development activity,” he added.

For the proposed terminal, the water area will be 420 acre (inner harbour 220 acre and outer harbour 200 acre) and the land area will be 587 acre (inner harbour 441 acre and outer harbour 146 acre).

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