By trimming the width, the local body hopes it could bring down the cost of construction and land acquisition

Finally, there seems to be a semblance of agreement on the width of Pachalam road overbridge.

Stakeholders in the overbridge have urged the State government to construct the bridge with a reduced carriageway of 18 metres.

The consensus on width was arrived at a meeting convened by Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany here on Monday ahead of a meeting to be chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the first week of January.

Corporation councillors from the region, legislators and representatives of various organisations attended the meeting. However, the CPI (M) councillors stayed off the session as civic administrators didn’t extend them an invitation to the session, according to the party leaders.

Mr. Chammany denied the allegation. The invitation was sent to Lenin Centre, the district headquarters of the party, and the local body had proof of delivery, he said.

The debate over the width had been raging for some time as the civic authorities suggested reducing it from 22 metres to 18 metres citing cash crunch.

It was for a bridge with a carriageway of 22 metres and two service roads — each of four-metre width — that the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission had released funds. But the high cost involved in acquiring land for construction and rehabilitation had scared the local body away from the project.

By trimming the width, the local body hopes it could bring down the cost of construction and land acquisition.

Barring three persons, including former chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Corporation E.M. Sunilkumar, all the participants in the meeting wanted the bridge at 18 metres. Mr. Sunilkumar and two others demanded that the original proposal should be retained.

CPI (M) leader K.J. Jacob said the party would stick to its stand that the bridge should be constructed without altering the original alignment or reducing the width. The authorities should take the decision with a futuristic view, he said.

Mr. Jacob said the civic administrators were planning to reduce the width of the bridge to save the land of a school run by a religious group from acquisition.

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