The months following Lok Sabha polls will witness a flurry of activity in Vaduthala, with NGOs and residents’ associations gearing up to step up their campaign for a bridge at the level crossing here.
A similar movement demanding fast tracking of the project to widen Goshree-Mamangalam Road as a two-lane road too is on cards.
K.G. Panicker, the chairman of Pachalam bridge action council, said credit for commencement of Pachalam bridge works went to agitators who ensured that politicians were kept at bay. “The trump card was the threat to exercise NOTA (None of the above) option in the oncoming polls,” he said.
DMRC has promised to ready the bridge for commissioning in six month’s time.
Currently, traffic diversion to facilitate Pachalam bridge works has worsened chaos at Vaduthala level crossing through which 165 trains pass by daily.
By the time a two-lane bridge comes up at Vaduthala, bottlenecked portions of Goshree-Mamangalam Road can be widened. Fast tracking land acquisition, announcing a sound compensation package, permitting transfer of development rights (TDR) and removing encroachers would help speed up bridge and road works, Mr. Panicker said.
Kochi Corporation’s proposal for a four-lane Goshree-Mamangalam Road having 22-metre width was put in cold storage because of the prohibitive cost of land acquisition. The cash-strapped agency feels that a two-lane road is more feasible.
Former Mayor and chairman of Corporation’s Town Planning standing committee K.J. Sohan said the road could be developed if State and Centre pooled in funds. “The railway had given its nod for Vaduthala bridge a decade ago and is committed to providing 50 per cent funding. Keeping in mind a wider Goshree-Mamangalam Road, a split bridge could be built here – with one arm towards Edappally and the other towards Chitoor,” he said.
The Pachalam bridge action council has been demanding that narrow roads in Pachalam and Vaduthala be widened. “Road development has eluded the densely populated locality for the past four decades. A couple of houses protrude into the six-metre-wide road in front of Lourdes Hospital, narrowing it down to less than 3 metres in some places,” Mr. Panicker said.