Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is chalking out an action plan to give the city an image makeover in time to welcome the Kochi Metro. The plan is to build formidable infrastructure and develop efficient transport modes in the city by the time the metro rolls out in mid 2016.

KMRL decided to draw up the plan after residents’ associations, trade bodies and NGOs suggested that the city’s infrastructure be strengthened in tandem with the commissioning of Kochi Metro. Transport experts had opined that the metro would be a success only if allied modes of transport got a fillip.

To give the city a spanking new look roads will be constructed, narrow junctions will be widened and water transport will be developed. The Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority (UMTA), with KMRL’s MD Elias George at the helm, is expected to spearhead these projects, in partnership with civic agencies and government departments.

Key roads that will be widened include Vyttila-Pettah Road and Thammanam-Pullepady Road. The Greater Cochin Development Authority has assured speedy commissioning of Vyttila Thykoodam-Chilavanoor-Thevara Bund Road. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will also construct a flyover and a pair of two-lane bridges at Edappally Junction.

The State government has agreed to pool in funds for constructing flyovers at three other junctions on the NH 47 Bypass.

The projects will be executed simultaneously with Kochi Metro works to reduce traffic bottlenecks along the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah metro corridor.

The projects are expected to ensure seamless connectivity of the metro with road and water transport.

Mr. Elias George said other modes of transport had to be on the same track as the metro, as the metro’s ‘financial rate of return’ might be low.

“Developing allied transport modes and integrating them with the metro will ensure sound ‘economic rate of return’. KMRL’s initiative is aimed at improving positive externalities, together with the metro. This is crucial for the investment for the metro to be cost-effective,” he said.

The metro is expected to usher in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on either side of the Aluva-Pettah corridor, giving a fillip to commercial activities.

French loan

A team from AFD, a French financial agency, will visit Kochi from September 16-18. Following the visit they will decide on formally declaring the grant of a loan for the metro. The team is expected to hold talks with Minister for Transport Aryadan Mohammed, the Kochi Mayor, GCDA Chairman and MLAs from the district. As the French team is keen on UMTA developing and integrating different transport modes, a meeting would be held with the Transport Secretary and Chief Town Planner.

Sreedharan visits sites

On Tuesday, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan visited the site for the metro’s coach-maintenance yard at Muttom near Aluva and the casting yard at HMT. He also inspected the Aluva-Ernakulam South stretch, where piling, test piling and soil testing works are on. Later, he interacted with DMRC officials and took stock of the progress of works.

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