RBDCK to follow suit once land acquisition is over

The work on an overbridge proposed near Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) at Ponekkara is expected to gain pace with the Southern Railway inviting tenders for constructing the bridge’s span over railway lines.

The bridge will be a boon to commuters and thousands of patients who visit AIMS daily. Patients and others visiting the hospital now travel around 3 km extra through narrow roads to reach the hospital. The demand for the bridge grew louder as many people crossing railway tracks to avoid the circuitous route have been knocked down by trains.

With Lok Sabha polls at the footstep, people of the area have come out in the open demanding speeding up of bridge’s construction.

The railway portion of the bridge would be around 55 metres long — among the longest in the State. It is estimated to cost Rs. 5 crore. “There will be no pillars supporting the bridge’s rail portion, which would pass over seven railway tracks,” said Dani Thomas, the Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Southern Railway.

Railway had given administrative sanction for the bridge in 2011 and approved the revised design about a year ago. A regular bridge would come up in place of what was conceived as a small bridge. The total project cost is expected to be around Rs. 30 crore, which rose from Rs. 12 crore in 2011.

Land acquisition for the project is minimal since vacant land is available on one side. Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) is expected to build the bridge’s side spans.

A senior RBDCK official said the land acquisition process and the agency’s work on side spans would be hastened since the railway has invited tenders for the rail portion (which is expected to be built by year-end). “The State government will bear the full project cost since the bridge is not over a level-crossing (in which case the railway would have shared the cost).”

Resume road link

The two-lane bridge will link what was once the Edapally-Paravur highway, which got severed after railway tracks were laid. It would provide a shortcut to Paravur from Palarivattom and motorists need not touch the crowded Edappally Junction, said K.A. Francis, the treasurer of Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) and former general secretary of Mahatma Gandhi Residents Association, Edappally, which spearheaded the campaign for the bridge.

“Minister for Public Works V. K. Ibrahim Kunju has promised to allot funds for speeding up the project,” Mr Francis said.

People of the area and commuters have been demanding removal of encroachers from the road that leads to AIMS, since they often hold up ambulances and vehicles transporting patients in critical condition to the hospital.

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