There is no end in sight to commuters’ woes at Edappally Junction, as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and other agencies are on different pages about the two flyovers proposed here.
Though the situation has worsened after the opening of Lulu Mall, leaving a trail of vehicles caught in traffic hold ups in all four directions, the NHAI and other agencies are refusing to take the lead in finding a solution.
After dithering on the matter for about a decade, the NHAI chalked out grandiose plans to build a four-lane flyover at Edappally along the Kalamassery-Palarivattom NH 47 alignment and a six-lane one bypassing the junction, beginning from Toll Junction and ending near Oberon Mall.
While this would no doubt smoothen traffic flow, the proposal involves massive land acquisition on both the stretches. This is apart from the hiked toll that the NHAI would impose on motorists.
Both the PWD and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) are for a four-lane flyover at the junction, and a six-lane road beneath through minimal land acquisition and removal of encroachers. A speedy and cost-effective, but temporary solution is to widen the junction’s bell-mouth, for which there is ample under-utilised space on all four sides.
Speaking to The Hindu, Minister for Public Works V.K. Ibrahim Kunju said a few proposals were under consideration. “A six or four-lane lane flyover is one. An elevated highway from here up to Kundanoor is another proposal. The possibility of building an access-controlled bypass beginning from Aroor, passing alongside the backwaters, reaching Kakkanad and ending at Muttom near Aluva is yet another. Though land has to be acquired for this, displacement will be minimal.”
An easier way to decongest the Aroor-Edappally NH Bypass and NH 47 is to speed up the airport extension and four-laning of Airport-Seaport Road, Mr. Kunju said. The extended road would run parallel to the two NH stretches.
In the meantime, Egis India is learnt to have been asked to prepare a report on how best to tackle the traffic crisis which is expected to worsen once multiplex theatres and newer ventures open at Lulu.
Recently, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan had sent a letter to NHAI’s chairman stating the metro agency’s willingness to construct a four-lane flyover at Edappally, after integrating the metro’s viaduct design through the centre. This is being done at the North overbridge. The DMRC is ready with a preliminary design of the proposal. The NHAI is yet to officially respond to this.
Fellow government agencies blamed an inactive and dormant NHAI for the delay in constructing flyovers at four congested junctions in the NH Bypass, including Edappally.
The NHAI project director C.T. Abraham said a detailed project report on the flyovers was ready.
“At Edappally, we are unable to do a survey since many land owners are opposed to parting with land. We had to depend on Google map for this.”
He said that flyovers can be built at the four junctions for Rs. 1,450 crore, while the elevated highway might cost up to Rs 4500 crore.
A meeting to discuss about traffic snarls at Edappally junction will be held in the district collector’s chamber on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Representatives of National Highways Authority of India, trade bodies, and mall will attend.