Plans are afoot to reroute KSRTC’s long-distance buses and private buses through Salim Rajan overbridge that will be thrown open to vehicles on Sunday by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
“We will take up the rerouting of KSRTC buses at the next meeting of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) since this would help lessen congestion over the narrow South overbridge,” said the Assistant Commissioner of Police (City Traffic) K.S. Baby Vinod.
Aimed at ensuring smooth entry of buses from the KSRTC stand to the bridge, there is a proposal to modify the entry to the stand, by adding a few metres of land on its northern side.
Though a traffic regulation plan is yet to be announced, long-distance KSRTC buses will be able to reach Vyttila through Gandhinagar and Kadavanthra by using the new bridge. The proposal to route buses through Subhash Bose Road has been kept in abeyance since the road has a couple of sharp curves as it nears Ponnurunni.
“The re-routing is likely once work on Kochi metro rail begins. (The DMRC plans to commence work by month end). It will help RTC buses to skip the congested Chittoor Road and the bottlenecked South overbridge,” Mr. Vinod said.
Once motorists take to the new bridge, the widening of approach roads to the Pullepady bridge is expected to be taken up. “Steps are afoot to begin widening the stretch from the bridge up to Katrikadavu Junction,” said sources in Kochi Corporation.
Vehicles through the bridge would need more than one exit route on either side to merge with arterial roads, they said.
The main bottlenecks on the new bridge’s western side are the narrow junctions at the place where Rajaji Road meets Chittoor Road and later MG Road. While installing a traffic signal system at the MG Road junction will temporarily ease traffic flow, Kochi Corporation has not widened the narrow bell mouths of the two junctions.
The GCDA has, in the meantime, agreed to hand over the 7-metre wide portion of its land within the Ambedhkar Stadium to widen the stretch from the KSRTC stand up to the beginning of Rajaji Road.
The agency would also have to widen the bell mouths of Kumaranasan Junction and Kadavanthra Junction, in keeping with the increase in the traffic flow through the new bridge. With the traffic police planning to install more barricades at the junction, light vehicles from the new bridge will have to use Katrikadavu bridge’s underpass to cross over to the other side.
Sources associated with the metro rail said that the district administration and civic agencies are duty bound to ensure smooth movement of vehicles through the bridge, since the DMRC completed the bridge on time. “They should have widened the approach roads much earlier, foreseeing the increase in the traffic flow.”