Chandy to open reconstructed bridge on Sunday
The reconstructed North Overbridge looks all set to carry the traffic load that awaits it as soon as it is opened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday.
But the execution of the project was not always a smooth sailing for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the implementing agency, for, the work threw up numerous challenges.
The Kochi Metro project faced delay in getting sanction from the Union government. DMRC then found itself in the middle of preparatory works to avoid hardships to the travelling public once the execution of the Kochi Metro Rail gets under way. It was DMRC, which suggested five crucial preparatory works to the State government, which gave the go-ahead to the agency in March 2010.
The idea was to have these works completed before the commencement of the work of Kochi Metro. Salim Rajan Overbridge near the KSRTC stand was the first of the five works to be completed. It was commissioned on May 12 this year. North Overbridge will be the second most important work to be completed more or less on time.
The reconstruction of the North Overbridge was not even in the initial plans, as the Metro alignment was to bypass the existing overbridge and to proceed beside it. But there was a rethinking as it involved demolition of far too many buildings, taking the estimate for acquisition to about Rs. 65 crore.
That was when DMRC proposed rebuilding the bridge with four lanes and integrating the Metro structure so that it passed along the median of the newly constructed overbridge. The proposal was accepted and construction works were launched at a function held in July 2011. But the works, proposed in two stages, got delayed because of the challenges it imposed on the implementing agency.
In fact, the work on the first stage got delayed by more than seven months thanks to the delay in shifting 66 kV cables and water supply pipelines. Then there was the arduous task of rehabilitating the vendors and relaying the many arterial roads for hassle-free traffic diversions during the course of the work. The first stage of the work, involving lane-1 and lane-4, was completed in 13 months and was opened to traffic in January this year.
Dismantling works for the second stage started soon thereafter and were completed in February followed by piling and other connected works. The second stage has also been completed and is getting commissioned now. Only the works related to the Metro structure remains and that are likely to be completed in four months.
DMRC claims that the construction of the overbridge with a length of 350 metre and carriageway of two lanes (8.15m) for four lane traffic in two stages was nothing short of building two new bridges. Despite that, the reconstruction was completed affecting neither the road nor rail traffic for even a single day, the agency claimed.