East Coast Road (ECR), nicknamed the Venice of Chennai by the residents, is a two-lane highway. Also called SH-49, this elongated stretch of road runs along the coast of Bay of Bengal, and connects Chennai to other cities like Cuddalore and Puducherry. Localities like Neelankarai, Palavakkam, Kottivakkam, and Thiruvanmiyur fall under ECR’s wings.
Once a myriad of village roads connecting one fisherman village to another, today East Coast Road has bloomed into a vital connecting link for the southern suburbs of Chennai, and a host to several residential and commercial hubs. Since the inception of the road in 1998, it has enabled excellent intra-city and inter-city connectivity, and caught the interest of many first-time home buyers and investors.
The road is home to many tourist attractions like beaches, boating clubs, parks, entertainment zones, and restaurants. The presence of these attractions, coupled with the relatively unperturbed atmosphere of the region has caused many housing communities to settle down in the area.
Apart from being called the “entertainment hub” of Chennai, East Coast Road boasts of well-developed social, civic, and physical infrastructure. The area enjoys abundant water and electricity supply by the Chennai Public Works Department (PWD) and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). It also has a number of reputed schools, colleges, hospitals, and banks, and boasts of great road connectivity.
Connectivity and Transit Points
Starting at Thiruvanmiyur and extending till Uthandi in Chennai, East Coast Road serves as an arterial road connecting various southern suburbs of the city. Apart from serving as a connectivity lifeline for the residents of Chennai, the road facilitates stress-free travel to Chennai’s neighbouring cities, as well.
ECR’s connectivity is further enhanced by its merging with the bustling Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) at one point. This makes the IT corridor of Chennai conveniently accessible. The convergence of the two major roads also aids connectivity between south-eastern suburbs and the south-western and central regions of Chennai.
Throughout the stretch, there are several bus stops, providing local MTC bus transport, connecting areas like Guindy, Thiruvanmiyur, Koyambedu, Kodambakkam, Chromepet, Mylapore, and Tambaram.
The closest railway station facilitating intra-city travel is situated in Velachery, taking commuters from ECR to a number of other localities. Chennai’s primary railway station, Chennai Central is situated 27km from here, and can be reached within an hour’s time. Chennai International Airport situated in Meenambakkam, lies at a distance of 20km, and can be reached within 40 minutes via the Inner Ring Road.
● Indian Overseas Bank
● JEF Academy
● Mediglobe Healthcare Lifeline Hospital
● Raja Rajeshwari temple
● IOC Petrol Bunk
● Tryst Cafe
● Neelangarai Police Station
● Bank of Maharashtra
● Prarthana Beach Drive-in Theatre
● Life Insurance Corporation of India
● Majestic Farm
● Vodafone Store ECR
● RTO Office Bus Stop
Factors for Growth in the Past
East Coast Road was transformed from a series of village roads to a National Highway, particularly to ease the movement of traffic in Chennai, and also serve as an alternative route to cities like Puducherry and Cuddalore. The need for the facilitation of inter-state travel was responsible for the birth and growth of East Coast Road.
Unlike the infrastructure projects elsewhere in the city, the road development works on ECR were completed well within the budget and the intended time. April 2012 saw the conversion of the ECR into a toll road. With a steady source of income from this toll booth, ECR was maintained well, which ultimately quickened the pace of overall growth in the area.
ECR started out initially as the preferred locality for people looking to own a nice weekend home in a tranquil location. Because of its serene settings and easy connectivity to the heart of Chennai, ECR gained popularity as a high-end residential locality, with plenty of major developers responding to this demand.
Residential and Commercial Market
Residential Market Trends
The residential market along the ECR is mostly dominated by luxury villas and posh apartment complexes. The rich and the well-to-do of Chennai had already zeroed on the ECR as a weekend getaway, but now they were also looking to invest in properties here. Targeting this particular end-user group, a number of renowned builders are developing upmarket residential projects. At the moment though, residential plots dominate the property type in the region, with individual houses or villas occupying the next largest share. A small fraction of this market consists of apartment complexes, farmhouses, and holiday homes.
The price for sale of these residential plots in ECR Road is Rs 1500 per sq. ft., on average. The villas, which are hugely popular among home-buyers in the area, typically have a built-up area of between 3,000 to 5,000 sq. ft., and the starting price is around Rs 3 crores.
Commercial Market Trends
The commercial market in the ECR is slowly developing, primarily because of the influence exerted by its residential counterpart. The commercial lands in the ECR lie in the price bracket of Rs 10,000 to 12,000 per sq. ft.
To resolve the repeated wear and tear of the roads is a major challenge for the area’s civic authorities. Because of the large number of heavy duty vehicles that ply on this road, the surface tends to get distressed faster. As a result, regular and high quality maintenance works need to be undertaken on the ECR.
In the past, the ECR used to be among the major accident-prone stretches of Chennai. The sharp turns and the dangerous curves were causing lots of accidents here. Despite the safety measures taken by The Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation (TNRDC), accidents on this road are still a common feature.
Factors for Growth in the Future
The ECR is being touted as the “growth corridor” of Chennai. The TNDRC are working constantly on improving the road, by developing all the relevant infrastructure, minimising accidents, and widening certain sections of the road.
The ECR is already famed for its extensive connectivity with other parts of Chennai. This connectivity network is only going to improve with the upcoming ECR-OMR Link Road. This 1.4km long link road will lie midway between the pre-existing link roads of Akkarai and Tiruvanmiyur. It will ease the traffic congestion at the Sholinganallur Junction, and is expected to carry at least 30 per cent of the traffic burden from the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road.
The proposed four-laning of the ECR is a notable upcoming development. This project has been in the sidelines for 20 years now, with the necessary land being acquired a long time ago. The TNDRC have, however, finally kick started the project, and are expected to complete it by 2016-17.
Simple infrastructure upgradation is also underway. A two-metre wide median is being built to help prevent head-on collisions. Arrangements are being made to enhance visibility after dark. The construction of a new bridge along the Muttukadu Bridge is in the talks as well, in addition to the refurbishing of the three bridges at Kovalam, and two near Mamallapuram.