The Tamil Nadu government plans to upgrade its highway roads in the current fiscal year to reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs, a senior official at the state highways ministry said.
The department plans to use better contracting approaches such as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), public-private partnership (PPP), and performance-based and performance-based road contracts (OPRC) to modernize the roads.
“Intersectoral interventions aim to improve road safety at the state and district level, thereby reducing the number of fatalities in road accidents. This is headed by a project manager, assisted by a chief engineer, with senior engineers, departmental engineers and land acquisition units with special district tax officers,” the official said.
Among the various highway projects, the department is most interested in the Chennai Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor Project. “The main activity under this project is the development of roads connecting industrial areas within the sphere of influence of the Chennai Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor. Currently, 589 km of 16 state roads are being upgraded with the loan support from the Asian Development Bank,” the official said.
The Tamil Nadu Road Infrastructure Development Corporation (TNRIDC) is a non-profit company for the implementation of projects funded by the state government or supported externally as a managing partner. “The company has undertaken a number of projects across the state. Some of these are: Construction of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road Project – Sections II, III and IV; Madurai Ring Road; construction of a road over a bridge near Singaperumalkoil; Construction of Oragadam Industrial Corridor project including construction of grade separator at Padappai Junction,” the official said.
The highway department also takes care of smaller ports. “The ministry plans to provide port facilities to promote export-oriented industries and port-based industries. It also plans to address the needs of increasing transportation in the Southern States by providing efficient facilities and services to support domestic and international trade,” the official said.
The state-owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation is used to transport coal to various thermal power stations along the east coast of India. The company is currently ferrying passengers from the Kanyakumari shore to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. From now on, they would also be taken to the Thiruvalluvar statue, the official said.