More than a decade after it was taken over by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) from the State Highways Department, the Chennai-Salem Expressway via Tirupattur (NH 179A) will get a complete makeover — including conversion of the existing two-lane stretch into a four-lane carriageway — at a total cost of ₹252 crore in phases.
Currently, the first phase of the multi-crore work is being undertaken between Kathaani village in Vaniyambadi of Tirupattur district and Harur in Dharmapuri, for a distance of around 45 km, on the expressway. The expressway covers a distance of 125 km between Salem and Vaniyambadi (Tirupattur). It connects with the Benguluru Highway (NH 48) at Vaniyambadi. “The widened stretch will be much safer and it will be a shorter route for travellers. Travel will be much easier and safer for the goods-laden lorries also,” Amar Kushwaha, District Collector, Tirupattur, told The Hindu.
Sanctioned by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the existing two-lane expressway will be widened to 22 meters from its existing seven meters width making it convenient for container lorries and trailer vehicles to use the stretch safely. Further, the stretch will also have wide stormwater drains with six feet depth and three feet width. Solar-powered LED street lights will be installed with reflectors and warning signboards. Rest lanes for trucks and other goods vehicles will also be created. The widening work will help de-congest the existing two-lane expressway and the Benguluru Highway. Once the widening work gets completed, the expressway is also set to become a toll road between Chennai and Salem.
At present, the Expressway witnesses huge traffic from Vellore, Ranipet, Ambur, Arcot, Wallajah, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chennai mainly due to the stretch being narrow. Another reason for the traffic chaos on the expressway is because a large number of goods-laden lorries and trucks avoid the Benguluru Highway to reach Salem from Chennai and instead, they take the expressway via Vaniyambadi route.