How did Edappally beat Vyttila in the race for a flyover despite being the busiest junction in the city?

The Cabinet approval for a flyover at Edappally at Rs 180 crore on Wednesday, ahead of Vyttila, has provoked this moot question.

It has also drawn comparison to a very cost-effective proposal for two flyovers at Vyttila by the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (Kitco) almost three years ago as part of a study conducted to facilitate free entry and exit of buses from the Vytilla Mobility Hub.

“Our proposal for flyovers away from the junction takes care of movement of vehicles in all directions and does not hamper the proposed Kochi Metro Rail alignment in any way. It is cost-effective and can be completed for less than Rs. 80 crore,” said Kitco managing director Cyriac Davies. It ensured that Metro Rail could retain its regular alignment height at Vyttila Junction as it did not have to pass over the flyovers.

However, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was non-committal about the Kitco proposal. NHAI on its part roped in SNC Lavlin as the project consultant and entrusted it with drawing up a detailed project report (DPR) for the flyovers at Vytilla, Edappally, Kundannoor, and Palarivattom.

“The DPR has been forwarded to our headquarters at New Delhi through our regional office at Chennai last month. It proposed two structures of six lanes at both directions at Vyttila,” said NHAI’s Kochi Project Director C. T. Abraham. Now the wait is for the approval of the Union government.

The proposal, however, is far costlier than what had been suggested by the Kitco. Unsurprisingly, popular support seems to be mobilizing in favour of the proposal by Kitco. The Vyttila regional committee of Ernakulam District Resident’s Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC) organised a presentation on the proposal recently.

“We are planning a public campaign in favour of the Kitco proposal. It involves least land acquisition and minimum of road crossings. Vehicular traffic will not be held up as the proposal envisages free left wherever possible. It incorporates the Kochi Metro Rail and the future development of Vytilla Mobility Hub and the National Highway,” said N.T. Varghese, one of the district secretaries of EDRAAC.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) involvement definitely seems to have played a big part in Edappally flyover getting the green signal. DMRC had volunteered to construct the flyover and came up with a proposal.

A senior DMRC official said the flyover at Edappally was crucial for the proposed Kochi Metro Rail. The alignment of the Metro Rail would reach Edappally much earlier than Vyttila and the flyover should be ready before that. On the other hand, more time was at hand for the Metro Rail to reach Vytilla and a flyover there was not crucial to the project as in the case of Edappally, the official said. It is learned that DMRC is yet to receive an official approval for their proposal at Edappally from NHAI.

D. Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research, said flyovers at Edappally and Vyttila should be taken up simultaneously to ease traffic. With a flyover at Edappally, the present traffic signal there will become a thing of the past. “It means that the number of vehicles reaching Vyttila from Edappally in a minute will increase manifold. The sole signal at Palarivattom Bypass, which already witness long queues of vehicles, will not be able to stem the pace of traffic flow from Edappally, making things worse at Vyttila,” he said.

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