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All you need to know about the Chennai-Salem Green Highway

Author: Saranya Peyyeti
by Saranya Peyyeti
Posted: Jun 22, 2018

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is expanding the impact of its cluster highways project Bharatmala Pariyojana to Southern India, with its upcoming Chennai-Salem Green Highway corridor in the State of Tamil Nadu (TN).

The NHAI received a clearance from the Centre and the TN government to publish a notification on the land acquisition for the new National Highway. The notification, which has been rolled out, lists all the villages and land pockets the new highway will cut through.

The Chennai-Salem National Highway is a green expressway, a new concept for roadway design that integrates transport functionality and ecological sustainability. The government has proposed to construct it on 4,693 acres (1,900 hectares) of land in 159 villages across 14 talukas in the Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, and Salem districts.

According to its Detailed Project Report, the proposed green highway is 90-m or 256-ft wide and has 8 lanes, including service roads. It will be divided into two segments – NH-179 A and NH-179 B. These two stretches will offer only 9 entry and exit points, making it an access-controlled highway.

The new national highway will run in two directions:

  • From Salem to Coimbatore (western) with Erode and Tiruppur in between
  • From Salem to Chengalpetu (eastern) near Chennai, with Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai Kanchipuram in between

From Chengalpetu, the NH-179 will latch on to the Outer Ring Road at Vandalur that connects to the harbour. A special flyover will be built to neutralise any new traffic challenges at the entry point of Chennai that may arise due to the proposed green highway.

The road will branch out to the access points such as Udhagamandalam, Palani, Mettur, and hundreds of other towns and villages. All these measures will make the upcoming NH several times faster and more navigable than the current highways.

Purpose of the New Highway

The NHAI is undertaking the construction of the Rs-10,000-crore 274-km highway to reduce the time taken to travel from the port city of Chennai to the city of Salem, and decongest the existing Chennai-Bangalore and Chennai-Madurai National Highways that operates between the cities, These highways reportedly operate at around 150 percent of their actual capacity.

Currently, the Chennai-Bangalore road sees 60,000 PCU (passenger-car units), which is roughly 20,000 PCU more than its capacity. Similarly, the Chennai-Madurai road carries 80,000 PCU to 90,000 PCU against a true capacity of 40,000. This is making the two highways prone to accidents, with nearly 13,000 persons losing life and limb every year.

The National Highways Authority of India had earlier measured the feasibility of just extending the existing highways. However, that would mean demolishing 20,000 houses in the villages.

Environmental Impact

Keeping in mind the challenges of maintaining an ecological balance, the autonomous highways agency has proposed to divert less than 10 km of the road strip through the forest. It also has designed the road to go through a 3-km-long tunnel in a hillock instead of demolishing or bypassing it.

The land being acquired for the project will use only a fraction of the total irrigated land, and the government will compensate the land-owners by giving them an amount twice or thrice the actual land value. Majority of the land being proposed for acquisition for the NH 179 are wastelands.

For further information, these are a few of the numbers for comparing the performance of old and new highways in terms of time and distance:

Chennai to Kanchipuram


75 km in 1 hr 45 min to 2 hr


75 km in 45 min

Chennai to Tiruvannamalai


180 km in 3 hr to 3.5 hr


150 km in 1 hr 30 min

Chennai to Salem


330 km in 6 hr to 7 hr


270 km in 3 hr

Chennai to Erode


395 km in 7 hr to 8 hr


335 km in 3.3 hr to 4 hr

Chennai to Tiruppur


450 km to 9 hr to 10 hr


385 km in 4.3 hr

Chennai to Coimbatore


510 km in 10 hr to 11 hr


440 km in 5 hr to 5.5 hr

#NHAI #NationalHighways #GreenHighway #Chennai-SalemNationalHighway #LandAcquisition

About the Author

Saranya Peyyeti writes about creativity, business, technology, highways, education, and literature. she's 2013 postgraduate. when she isn't busy freelance writing or editing.

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Author: Saranya Peyyeti

Saranya Peyyeti


Member since: Jun 22, 2018
Published articles: 1

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