Vehicle density on existing road has multiplied over the years
Keeping in view the steady growth in passenger movement through the airport here, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) will soon open a four-lane airport approach road from the National Highway.
According to officials, the airport company is in the final stages of completing the first phase of the 5-km-long stretch, which is scheduled to open in April. “The 2.5-km stretch starting from the highway to the Golf Course Club is being developed at a cost of Rs.21.3 crore. This will be opened to traffic soon,” said a senior CIAL official.
He said the traffic on the existing approach road was bound to increase over the next few years and a new widened road was required to maintain a safe traffic flow and avoid congestion during the peak hours. “Traffic on the existing two-lane road has almost multiplied over the past few years with the airport’s growth and it is estimated to double every 5-6 years. For instance, a traffic survey conducted in 2012 put the number of vehicles using the road during peak hours at 2,200, with one car passing in each direction every eight seconds”, he said.
The design and alignment of the four-lane road, with a three-layer bitumen surface, is in conformity with the specifications laid down by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It will have a carriageway of 7 metres on each side, separated by a 3-metre-wide median. The total outlay for the second phase, which also includes the construction of a new railway overbridge near the existing one and a road up to the airport entry point, is estimated to be around Rs.40 lakh. On its completion, the existing road to the airport will be converted as a feeder road to the CIAL convention centre.
The step is also considered as part of CIAL’s efforts to expand its infrastructure base to support its land utilisation plans. In 2009, the airport company had invited proposals from infrastructure development agencies to broaden the road on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) model. The project, however, was shelved subsequently, citing unviability.