Traffic blocks have become a daily feature on this stretch, say regular commuters.
Traffic snarl-ups on the Palarivattom-Kakkanad Road, especially on the stretch between Chembumukku and Padamugal, exemplify how lack of planning leads to chaos.
Quarter of a century ago, the collectorate was perhaps the only noteworthy building in Kakkanad. Since then the place has become an industrial, commercial and residential hub with the arrival of institutions like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Infopark, and innumerable apartment complexes. SmartCity Kochi is also on the anvil.
But the Palarivattom-Kakkanad Road, the lifeline of thousands of daily commuters, is hardly in a position to accommodate the traffic proliferating by the day. The road is narrow and resembles a bottleneck especially in the Chembumukku-Padamugal stretch leading to long traffic snarls lasting for hours.
“Traffic blocks have become a daily feature on this stretch especially during the morning and evening peak hours. The fare we charge is not actually enough considering the fuel wastage caused by the bumper-to-bumper traffic,” Sumesh, an autorickshaw driver at the Vazhakkala junction, said.
Anoop M. Krishnan, an Infopark employee, said he was forced to shift his lodging from Vazhakkala to a place closer to his workplace precisely because of the traffic chaos.
“The worst point for two-wheelers is Vazhakkala. Motorists are forced to zig-zag through the traffic to reach their workplaces on time and in the process meet with accidents. Two of my friends died in this manner at Vazhakkala some years ago,” Mr. Krishnan said.
Raphy, who has been running a cycle shop for the last 17 years at Vazhakkala, said there were talks of acquiring seven meters on either side of the road for widening. However, the plan had not taken concrete shape. “Either this road should be widened or a parallel road should be thought about,” he said.
M.S. Anilkumar, president of Thrikkakara Residents’ Association Apex Council (TRAAC), said the works worth Rs. 10 crore launched by the PWD for the development of the road would prove futile unless maximum available space was utilised for widening the road.
“More importantly, the Vennala Road should also be developed simultaneously. This will facilitate diversion of 20 per cent traffic bound for the city from Kakkanad to NH Bypass,” he said. Considering the burgeoning traffic such arrangements would last for just another three years after which alternatives would have to be found. That calls for one important factor — planning, which is often the exception rather than the rule.