It will be rebuilt by November this year in a Rs. 70-crore project
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) began dismantling the central portion of the Ernakulam North overbridge on Thursday.
It will be rebuilt by November, becoming lanes two and three of the four-lane bridge which will have a total width of 21 metres. Lanes one and two were opened to traffic earlier this month. These lanes will become wider when they are integrated with the central lanes.
“We plan to pull down the bridge’s central portion (the old bridge built in the 1960’s) in a month, following which work on rebuilding it will begin,” said the DMRC’s Kochi Project Director P. Sriram. The works include the construction of metro-rail pillars through its centre. The project cost of the four-lane bridge, 4.5-metre wide footpath and the metro pillars is Rs 70 crore.
The old bridge’s demolition came as a surprise to motorists who thronged the arterial stretch as usual. This caused huge traffic snarls on either side and vehicles were diverted through alternative roads.
“The snarl extended from Kaloor up to Palarivattom during morning peak hours,” said Joseph Thomas, a commuter in the stretch. This persisted all through the day, though to a lesser scale.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (Edapally Traffic) K. S. Baby Vinod said that the situation will improve once the DMRC commissions the Salim Rajan overbridge.
Though January had been fixed as the deadline for the Salim Rajan bridge, it might be opened only by February end.
The police had earlier exhorted commuters to use alternative roads and to begin their trips early, to avoid congestion at Ernakulam North. The CVCC-RDS joint venture combine entrusted by the DMRC to rebuild the North bridge is expected to deploy workers all through day and night, to ensure timely completion of the project.
The bridge’s service roads and underpass will be readied in tune with the completion of the bridge’s four-laning, said sources in the DMRC. The bridge will have a gradient of 1:15 (an elevation of a metre for a 15-metre distance) in the earth-filled ramp and 1:20 over the girder portion. This will make it lengthier and less steep than the old bridge which had a 1:14 gradient.
The DMRC is coordinating with the Railways so that trains can be regulated when the railway portion of the old bridge is pulled down. “We hope to dismantle the central portion in 10 days time. The debris will initially be dumped at Manappatiparamba ground and we have requested the GCDA for some more land for a period of three months. The concrete will be used for land filling, while the steel will be auctioned,” DMRC sources said.