Rain Poses Challenges to East Coast Road Project

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As the northeast monsoon has set in and the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing intermittent spells of rain over a fortnight, major infrastructure projects such as the widening of East Coast Road (ECR) is facing challenges in execution.

The National Highways Authority of India has been executing a project to widen a stretch of National Highway 32, East Coast Road, connecting Chennai and Thoothukudi. The corridor is highly significant for road users as it runs through the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, connecting two major ports of the State, Chennai and Thoothukudi, and a few other non-major ports.

NHAI initiated a project to widen the existing two-lane to a four-lane along the 180-km stretch of the corridor from Villupuram to Nagapattinam in four packages a few years ago. The corridor passes through Puducherry, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai, and Karaikal districts.

The district administrations and NHAI worked together to sort out issues in land acquisition and obtained necessary clearances from Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority as the corridor passes through the coastal regulation zone in several stretches.

An official from NHAI told The Hindu that the first package connecting Villupuram and Puducherry had attained 91% physical progress and nearing completion. The second and third packages linking Puducherry and Poondiyankuppam in Cuddalore district and Poondiyankuppam and Sattanathapuram in Mayiladuthurai district had progressed to 66.5% and 79%, respectively.

The final stretch of the project, which runs from Sattanathapuram to Nagapattinam, passing through Thirukadaiyur, Tharangambadi, and Karaikal, had reached a physical progress of 31%, the official said. Construction of 13 minor bridges, 92 box culverts, three flyovers, and six median openings was underway along the stretch between Sirkazhi and Karaikal.

The intermittent spell of rain in coastal districts with the onset of the northeast monsoon posed a challenge and hampered further progress in the project, said the official, adding the entire stretch of the project was likely to be completed by March next year.

With rain likely to continue for two months, NHAI may have to deploy additional manpower to complete the work well within its target.

Source: The Hindu