Road network in Tamil Nadu

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Tamil Nadu has an extensive road network. State road network covers about 153 km per 100 km2 area, which is higher than the country's average road network coverage of 103 km per 10 km2 area. A separate Highways Department (HD) was established in April 1946 and the same has been renamed as Highways & Minor Ports Department (HMPD) on 30 October 2008.[1] HMPD of Tamil Nadu is primarily responsible for construction and maintenance of roads including national highways, state highways and major district roads in Tamil Nadu. It operates through 7 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] In 2013, the state recorded 15,563 fatalities in the 14,504 recorded accidents, the highest for any state in India.[3]

Roads of Tamil Nadu[edit]

As on 30 March 2010, Tamil Nadu is having a total road length of 1,99,040 km.[4] The various types of roads and their lengths are given below:

Tamil Nadu Road Network
Class Length (km)
National highways/expressways 4,873
State highways 9,384
Major district roads 11,288
Other district roads & sugarcane roads 36,096
Panchayat roads and other departments roads 1,37,399
Total (approx) 1,99,040
Width wise details of government roads (As on 31 March 2013)[5]
Sl. No Category wise Single lane Intermediate lane Double lane Multi lane Total
1 National highways 13 34 2785 2142 4974
2 State highways 32 289 9354 1089 10764
3 Major district roads 1698 6263 3128 158 11247
4 Other district roads & sugarcane roads 31285 2837 862 48 35032
5 Total (approx) 33028 9423 16129 3437 62017
6 Percentage 53 15 26 6 100

Upgrade, resettlement, and repair work on rural roads, district roads, and state highways are undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project Wing with the loan assistance of World Bank. On 17 June 2003, World Bank's regular lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has sanctioned US $ 348 million loan for road enhancement works in Tamil Nadu.[6]

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 / declared as National Highway by government of India.[7] 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).[8] 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 NH's runs inside the Tamil Nadu. NH 47, NH 49, NH 208, NH 220 connects Tamil Nadu with Kerala. NH 67, NH 207, NH 209 connects Tamil Nadu with Karnataka. NH 205, NH 219 and NH 234 connects Tamil Nadu with Andhra Pradesh. NH 4 connects Tamil Nadu with Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. NH 5 connects Tamil Nadu with Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. NH 7 connects Tamil Nadu with Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. NH 66 connects Tamil Nadu with Karnataka and Pondicherry.[9]

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, Trichy, Coimbatore, Thirunelveli.[10]

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. Major District Roads (MDR) provides linkage between production and marketing centres within a district. It also provides connectivity for District & Taluk headquarters with State highways and National Highways. Construction & Maintenance wing of Highways Department executes construction and maintenance of MDR along with State Highways & ODR. These roads have a minimum width of 15 meters.

Other District Roads (ODR)[edit]

Roads with traffic density less than 5,000 PCUs are categorized as Other District Roads. ODR provides road connectivity for major rural production hubs, Block headquarters and Taluk headquarters. Similar to SH and MDR, Construction & 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 (PMGSY). National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD and state government shares the funds required for the development of rural roads. Recently NABARD has sanctioned about Rs.816 crores under 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.[11]

Special & 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 113.2 k.m. Recently Tamil Nadu Government announced the Upgradation of ECR road till Mahabalipuram to four lanes at a cost of Rs. 672 Crore.[12]

Rajiv Gandhi Salai / 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 / IT Expressway. TNRDC develops 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.[13]

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.[14][15]

NHAI & CPT will share 23.30 per cent of the project cost; GoTN & EPL share will be 9.70 per cent and 5.67 per cent respectively.

Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Expressway[edit]

The 19 k.m 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 Elevated Expressway project was awarded to Hyderabad based Soma Enterprises.

Outer Ring Road Project[edit]

The 62 k.m 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 Rs.1000 Crores in two phases. In the first phase, the 30 k.m road stretch from Vandalur in NH-45 to Nemellichery in NH-205 via Nazrathpet in NH4 is to be developed.. Road stretch of 30 k.m long 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.[16]


  1. ^ Government of Tamil Nadu. "Highways Department renamed as Highways and Minor Ports Department" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Highways Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. "Wings of Highways Department". Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (24 June 2013). "For 10th year in a row, Tamil Nadu tops India in road accidents". TNN (The Times of India). Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Investingintamilnadu, Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau, Industries Department (Government of Tamil Nadu). "Details of Government Roads in Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Performance Budget (2013-14), Highways and Minor Ports Department (Government of Tamil Nadu). "Lanewise Details of Government Roads in Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Retrieved 15 Nov 2013. 
  6. ^ "World Bank Supports Tamil Nadu's Efforts to Improve Road Network Quality". The World Bank. 17 June 2003. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Government of Tamil Nadu webportal. "Norms for Classification of Government Roads, Policy Note on Roads, Bridges and Shipping - 2003-2004". Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Tamil Nadu Highways Department. "National Highways wing". Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "National Highways in Tamil Nadu". Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Highways Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. "Highways Circle of Highways Department, Tamil Nadu". Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Nabard funds for TN projects". Business Line, The Hindu. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Sivan, Jayaraj (11 March 2009). "ECR to be made four lanes". Times of India. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Expansion of IT Expressway". Times of India. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Business line, The Hindu (9 February 2010). "Chennai's Ennore-Manali road project". Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project". Economic Times. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Rs 1,000-cr Outer Ring Road project set to take off". Economic Times. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 

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