Road network in Tamil Nadu

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Map indicating Highways network of Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, the Highways & Minor Ports Department (HMPD) is primarily responsible for construction and maintenance of roads including national highways, state highways and major district roads. HMPD was established as Highways Department (HD) on April, 1946 and subsequently renamed on 30 October 2008.[1] It operates through seven wings namely National Highways Wing, Construction & Maintenance Wing, NABARD and Rural Roads Wing, Projects Wing, Metro Wing, Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project Wing, Investigation and Designs Wing geographically spread across the state in 31 districts with about 120 divisions and 450 subdivisions.[2]

Road Network[edit]

As on 30 March 2010, Tamil Nadu's road network has a total road length of 199,040 km (123,680 mi).[3] Tamil Nadu has about 14,257 km (8,859 mi) of highways which is designated as National Highways and State Highways on the basis of traffic intensity and connectivity. The various types of roads and their lengths are given below:

Tamil Nadu Road Network (As on 31 March 2010)[4]
Sl. No Category wise Single lane Intermediate lane Double lane Multi lane Total
1 National highways 18 km (11 mi) 42 km (26 mi) 2,685 km (1,668 mi) 2,128 km (1,322 mi) 4,873 km (3,028 mi)
2 State highways 32 km (20 mi) 1,414 km (879 mi) 7,261 km (4,512 mi) 677 km (421 mi) 9,384 km (5,831 mi)
3 Total 50 km (31 mi) 1,456 km (905 mi) 9,946 km (6,180 mi) 2,805 km (1,743 mi) 14,257 km (8,859 mi)
4 Percent <1% 1.0% 69.8% 19.6% 100%

National Highways[edit]

Road stretches which have heavy traffic intensity of more than 30,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) connecting different state capitals, major ports, large industrial areas and tourist centers are designated National Highway by Government of India.[5] In Tamil Nadu, National Highways Wing of Highways & Minor Ports Department was established in the year 1971 to look after the works of improving, maintaining and renewing of National Highways laid down by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).[6] National Highways wing exercises central government funds from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for improvement works. Out of 25 National Highways in Tamil Nadu, 12 highways completely lie within the state. National Highways plying through Tamil Nadu are listed below in the table:[7]

State highways[edit]

Road stretches with heavy traffic intensity of more than 10,000 PCUs but less than 30,000 PCUs which connects district headquarters, important towns and the National Highways in the State and neighboring States are declared as State Highways. Construction & Maintenance wing of Highways Department looks after Construction, Maintenance of all the State Highways (SH), Major District Roads (MDR), Other District Roads (ODR). Tamil Nadu State Highways Network has 7 circles namely Chennai, Villupuram, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli.[8]

Major District Roads[edit]

Roads with traffic density less than 10,000 PCUs but more than 5,000 PCUs are designated as Major District Roads (MDR). Major District Roads provide linkage between production and marketing centers within a district. It also provides connectivity for district and taluk headquarters with state highways and national highways. Construction and Maintenance wing of Highways Department executes construction and maintenance of MDRs along with State Highways. These roads have a minimum width of 15 metres (49 ft).

Other District Roads (ODR)[edit]

Roads with traffic density less than 5,000 PCUs are categorized as Other District Roads (ODR). ODRs provides road connectivity for major rural production hubs, block headquarters and taluk headquarters. Similar to SH and MDRs, Construction and Maintenance wing of Highways Department executes ODR related works.

Rural & Sugarcane Roads[edit]

NABARD and Rural Roads Wing of Highways and Minor Ports Department carry out construction and maintenance of rural roads along with Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. NABARD and state government shares the funds required for the development of rural roads. In 2010, NABARD sanctioned 816 crore (US$130 million) for augmentation of 508 rural roads in 30 districts, upgrading 44 district roads and 39 major district roads in 18 districts and construction of 121 bridges in 31 districts of the state.[9]

Other Roads[edit]

East Coast Road[edit]

Main article: East Coast Road

The East Coast Road was the first project implemented by Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC) in the year 2002. ECR Road runs from Kudumiyandithoppu till outskirts of Pondicherry for a total length of 113 km (70 mi). Recently Tamil Nadu Government announced the upgradation of ECR road till Mahabalipuram to four lanes at a cost of 672 crore (US$100 million).[10]

Coimbatore bypass[edit]

Coimbatore Bypass is a series of bypasses connecting the various National Highways and State Highways passing through and originating in Coimbatore. The first section of the bypass was a 28-kilometre (17 mi) two-laned road with paved shoulders built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) from Neelambur to Madukkarai on National Highway 544 (formerly National Highway 47) which intersects Trichy Road at Chintamani Pudur near Irugur and Eachanari on Pollachi Road.[11] It was the first road privatisation project to be implemented on a build-operate-transfer model in South India.[12][13] The National Highways Authority of India is conducting studies for a bypass along the MettupalayamSulur National Highways 81 and 181 (formerly National Highway 67). The proposed length of this road is 53.95 kilometres (33.52 mi), and is expected to cost 6.01 billion (US$93 million) to build.[14] In 2010, an announcement was made in the State Budget to build a Western Ring Road at a cost of 2.84 billion for 26 km. The proposed road would have been from Madukarai near ACC Cement industry, starting on Palakkad Road connecting Mettupalayam Road via Perur Road, Marudamalai Road and Thadagam Road.[15]

IT Expressway[edit]

Main article: Rajiv Gandhi Salai

Road Stretch from Madhya Kailash in Adyar to Mahabalipuram in Kanchipuram district which in turn connects with the East Coast Road is called Rajiv Gandhi Salai or IT Expressway. TNRDC developed this road stretch in two phases with widening of Madhya Kailash to Siruseri road stretch to six lanes in first phase and widening of Siruseri to Mamallapuram of road stretch I second phase.[16]

Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP)[edit]

EnnoreManali Road Improvement Project was developed by a special purpose vehicle formed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Chennai Port Trust (CPT), Ennore Port Limited (EPL) and Tamil Nadu Government (GoTN) at a cost of Rs 600 crore. The project was announced by the State Government in 1998 to cover industrial hotspots of north Chennai such as Manali Oil Refinery Road, TiruvottiyurPonneri-Panchetti (TPP) Road, Ennore Expressway and northern portion of the Inner Ring Road from Madhavaram to Manali.[17][18]

Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Expressway[edit]

The 19 km (12 mi) long Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Expressway is being developed Chennai Port Trust and Government of Tamil Nadu on 50:50 cost sharing basis. The 1,655 crore (US$260 million) Elevated Expressway project was awarded to Hyderabad based Soma Enterprises.

Outer Ring Road Project[edit]

The 62-km long Outer Ring Road with six lanes from Vandalur to Minjur via Nemellichery was awarded to GMR consortium by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to implement the project on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis. The project is proposed to be developed at a cost of 1,000 crore (US$150 million) in two phases. In the first phase, the 30 km (19 mi) long stretch of road from Vandalur in NH-45 to Nemellichery in NH-205 via Nazrathpet in NH4 is to be developed. The 30 km (19 mi) long stretch of road between Pattabiram Nemellichery to Thiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti in Minjur is proposed to be developed. It acts as a linkage between Grand Southern Trunk Road (NH-45), BangaloreChennai Road (NH 4) and TirupathiChennai Road.[19]


  1. ^ "Highways Department renamed as Highways and Minor Ports Department" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Wings of Highways Department". Highways Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Details of Government Roads in Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "Lanewise Details of Government Roads in Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Performance Budget (2013-14), Highways and Minor Ports Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Norms for Classification of Government Roads, Policy Note on Roads, Bridges and Shipping - 2003-2004". Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "National Highways wing". Tamil Nadu Highways Department. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "National Highways in Tamil Nadu". Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "Highways Circle of Highways Department, Tamil Nadu". Highways Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Nabard funds for TN projects". The Hindu. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Sivan, Jayaraj (11 March 2009). "ECR to be made four lanes". Times of India. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Venkataraman, Kavita; Raman, TMA (20 October 1999). "L&T may pull out of Coimbatore bypass project". Financial Express. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Coimbatore By-pass (Tamil Nadu)". L&T IDPL. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Coimbatore Bypass: First road Privatization Project" (PDF). L&T ECC. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Coimbatore bypass road works to begin next year". The Hindu. Chennai. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Long term benefits for Coimbatore". The Hindu. Coimbatore. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "Expansion of IT Expressway". Times of India. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  17. ^ "Chennai's Ennore-Manali road project". The Hindu. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project". The Economic Times. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  19. ^ "Rs 1,000-cr Outer Ring Road project set to take off". The Economic Times. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 

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