But standoff between metro stakeholders and NHAI continues over road widening
The Edappally Junction is all set to have a pair of two-lane bridges, in addition to a flyover that was proposed there.
The bridges will be built on either side of the existing four-lane bridge over the Edappally canal. “The work on the new bridges will begin within a month and can be completed within three months,” said P.A. Hashim, PWD Superintending Engineer, who was appointed nodal officer to oversee the work on the bridges and flyover. These proposals to decongest the junction got an impetus following a joint inspection of the site on Friday by officials of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), PWD and other agencies.
The new bridges are crucial since service roads that will be built beneath the flyover will pass through them. Land acquisition on the bridge’s eastern side is not required since ample land is already available. A water pipeline and a few other utilities will be shifted from the junction in the coming weeks.
As for the flyover, 175 cents of land will have to be acquired from around the junction. “Even as work on the bridge is under way, the DMRC can begin constructing the flyover from the junction’s western side. Survey stones for land acquisition will be laid within a couple of weeks,” Mr Hashim said.
The metro agency hopes to complete the four-lane flyover and the metro’s via duct through the centre for Rs 54 crore. It had set an 18-month deadline for the project. The cost of the 175 cents of land would be assessed shortly by the Revenue Department.
Standoff over widening NH
The standoff between stakeholders of Kochi Metro and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over commencement of piling and allied works along the Edappally-Aluva NH continues, with the NHAI adamant that the stretch has to be widened by eight metres prior to commencement of piling.
“This is because eight metres of the road will be barricaded for the metro’s civil works. We want to maintain the status quo – the four-lane width of the highway even when the metro’s works are on,” said NHAI’s Kochi project director C.T. Abraham. He said it was up to the metro agencies and others to bear the road widening expenses.
Both Kochi Metro Rail Limited and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation are peeved at the objection raised by NHAI’s head office at the eleventh hour since the project’s countdown began a week ago. Though the metro’s civil works over the stretch had been awarded to L&T over a month ago, the firm is unable to commence work along the NH because of the ongoing standoff.
A few months ago, KMRL had stated that the Edappally-Aluva NH would be widened by up to five metres by taking over waste land and evicting encroachers. “These measures and curbs on parking would ensure four-lane traffic along the 13-km stretch when the metro’s civil works are under way. Widening the NH by eight metres would be tough and time-consuming,” sources said.
It is noteworthy that work on the Bangalore Metro was carried out as per schedule without paying heed to objections raised by NHAI.
In Kochi, the NHAI is demanding widening of the NH by eight metres, despite the metro pillars and the safety barrier around them occupying just 2.10 metres of the road’s width.