Hundreds of CPI(M) activists laid siege to South overbridge in Kochi on Thursday morning, demanding its widening alongside Kochi Metro work.

Though the metro would pass through the bridge’s northern side, its viaduct would make widening the bottlenecked bridge tough.

P. Rajeev, MP, inaugurated the siege. He spoke of the need to widen the bridge’s carriageway to at least 10.50 metres, from the present seven metres. Widening the bridge was among the proposals charted out by the LDF Government. But the UDF Government went back on the proposal.

Urban planners had demanded speedy completion of the Atlantis overbridge (where work is yet to start because of delay in land acquisition), so that vehicles could be diverted through it and A.L. Jacob and Pullepady bridges when South bridge was widened. Sources associated with the metro said the DMRC had in 2008 suggested the widening of South bridge along with the North bridge to pave the way for smooth traffic movement when metro works are under way.

“Even a draft design was readied. But vested interests from within the State played spoilsport. Little can be done now at the eleventh hour. The best thing is to raze the slabs over footpaths on either side and chop it to the carriageway level, so that the bridge has three-lane width instead of the present two,” they said.

Work on North bridge is being delayed reportedly because of KWA’s inordinate delay in relocating a pipeline on the eastern side. The bridge is slated to be opened in mid-November by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

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