Traffic congestion acute at key junctions; DMRC to install two dozen boards to guide motorists from arterial and side roads to the bridge

Though the Kochi Corporation is yet to chalk out plans to widen approach roads to the newly opened Salim Rajan (now named A.L. Jacob) overbridge, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is fine-tuning plans to augment connectivity on either side of the bridge.

A day after the bridge was opened, traffic congestion was acute at the junction where Rajaji Road meets Chittoor Road and at Abad Plaza Junction where it meets MG Road. Policemen had a tough time managing traffic as the two junctions are narrow and perennially bottlenecked. With more vehicles expected to use the new bridge in the coming days, the situation will turn grave.

A week ago, the GCDA agreed to surrender seven metres of land on the side of Ambedkar Stadium, to widen the a 200-metre stretch from the new bridge up to Rajaji Road.

“The DMRC has agreed to widen the road. On our part, we will widen Mahakavi Bharatiar Road that runs parallel to Rajaji Road, so that smaller vehicles can gain access to Chittoor Road without entering Rajaji Road,” said N.Venugopal, GCDA Chairman.

The GCDA also plans to construct a 7-metre-wide road that would run parallel to Rajaji Road. “On the bridge’s eastern side, we will construct a minor bridge having 12-metre width over the canal, linking Gandhinagar with South Railway Station’s eastern entry. This will enhance connectivity to the new bridge as well. Plans are also afoot to widen Kumaranasan Square on Katrikadavu bridge’s southern side,” he said.

The Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) has demanded speedy measures by the GCDA and Kochi Corporation to ensure better connectivity to the bridge. Its president P. Rangadasa Prabhu demanded that the corporation widen the junction where Rajaji Road intersects Chittoor Road and later MG Road.

“The influx of vehicles through the new bridge and the expected opening of a new mall near Hotel Abad Plaza will further choke the two junctions.”

Mr Prabhu said that the corporation that was proactive in renaming the bridge after A.L. Jacob must show the same level of enthusiasm in widening the two junctions. Sources in the traffic police said that the junctions can be widened by removing encroachers and through minimal land acquisition.

Parking woes

Despite traffic police announcing that parking would be restricted, haphazard parking of vehicles is a problem on the new bridge’s approach roads. It is more acute on Salim Rajan Road, while vehicles parked near U-turns on the Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road cause traffic hold ups at these places.

The Assistant Commissioner of City Traffic Police K.S. Baby Vinod said that the DMRC had promised to install two dozen boards to guide motorists from arterial and side roads to the bridge.

More In: Kochi