The ECR starts at Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai and is a part of the Chennai City roads till Uthandi. From Uthandi starts the beachway section starts as a toll road. The speed of the vehicles on this road is restricted to a maximum of 80 km/h. The State Government upgraded most of East Coast Road to a four lane divided, open access highway by 2015.
The ECR was made a toll road in April 2002. The ECR till Hanumanthai near Pondicherry is 113.2 km long and has a total of 22 bends. On an average 10,000 passenger car units (PCUs) use the road during rush hour and a total of 40,000 PCUs daily, up from about 5,000 daily before the construction of the road. The process of acquiring land for widening the 11.4-km stretch from Thiruvanmiyur to Akkarai covering six revenue villages (including Thiruvanmiyur, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai, Injambakkam and Vettuvankani), which is under the control of the Highways Department, is under way. The stretch currently has width varying between 50 ft and 80 ft. After widening at a sanctioned cost of ₹ 3,540 million, the stretch would be uniformly 30.5 m (100 ft) wide and would have six lanes, a 1.2-m-wide median, footpath-cum-stormwater drain.ECR extends up to Hanumanthai. On the way to Hanumanthai, a famous location Marakkanam is situated. On the ECR road right side famous Bhoomiswarar Temple is situated. It is believed that Sri Bhoomiswara is the God for Bhoomi, hence, many perform pooja before buying land placing the sale agreement on His holy feet. Hence real estate promoters also rush to this location.