Metroman concerned about delay in developing alternative routes to divert traffic

Seventy five per cent of Kochi metro rail pillars and 50 per cent of the work on metro stations would be completed in 2014, making it the busiest working season for DMRC, the agency’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan has said.

He was replying to questions posed by The Hindu on the milestones the metro will cover in 2014. (There would be approximately 1,200 pillars in the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah metro alignment. As per DMRC’s plan, the project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016, three years since work began in June 2013.)

The super structure (comprising pier caps and girders) will also be launched at many places, paving the way for commencing track-linking work by November–December 2014, Mr Sreedharan said.

Coaches

On whether Kochi will get the best of metro coaches available in the market since there are only two firms in the fray for bagging the contract, he said, “The coaches will come with latest technology and will match international standards. The contract will be awarded in February.”

A set of coaches was expected in August 2015 and trial run would begin in September, he said.

Elaborating on other key decisions on the anvil this year, Mr Sreedharan said all system contracts (for laying/linking tracks, signals and telecommunication, third traction etc.,) will be awarded by April-May 2014. “Track material procurements have already begun and ballast collection in the Muttom coach-maintenance depot will commence by October.”

Referring to progress of works at the depot, he said that earthwork would be over by March and (the premises) will be ready for track linking from October. Fifty per cent of the structures proposed in the depot would be completed this year.

On possible impediments to the project, the ‘metro man’ said - “We are more worried about the inconvenience which will be caused to the public when works are underway. This is because alternative routes, though available, have not been developed for diverting traffic.”

Vytilla-Pettah road

Mr. Sreedharan said slight delay in land acquisition, relocation of utilities etc., would not pose much of a problem. Still, widening Vyttila-Pettah road (into four-lane) would be a challenge for the Revenue authorities and PWD. Unless this road was widened, DMRC would not be able to start metro’s civil works on this stretch, he said.

“Widening Banerjee Road (from Town Hall to Madhava Pharmacy Junction) will be over in another two months. Though MG Road will not be widened, DMRC will ensure two-lane traffic in each direction once metro is ready. Footpaths will be beautified alongside.”

Since land acquisition for Ernakulam Junction railway station approach road was still not in sight, this road would be widened along with construction of the metro. Reacting to concerns about Southern Railway’s pre-conditions to permit routing of metro through the railway station, he said that this would not pose a problem since the railway has already committed to make available the minimum land needed for metro rail works.

Mono rails

Mr. Sreedharan said that tenders for selecting a turn key contractor for designing, construction, supply of equipment, commissioning and operation of the Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram mono rail projects are due on March 31. “We would take about six weeks to finalise the tenders. The contractor will commence construction of mono rails by June-July.”

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