Work yet to begin on proposed flyovers and ring road
While private buses plying on select routes calling at the Vytilla bus terminal-cum-mobility hub from Wednesday has been widely welcomed, the absence of flyovers at Vytilla Junction and the inadequate road infrastructure around the hub pose bottlenecks for the free movement of traffic.
Though it has been over five years since the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) proposed to build flyovers at the largest traffic intersection in the State, the agency is yet to begin even preliminary work on them. Thus, motorists from all four directions have to wait for multiple signal changes before they can cross over to the other side of the junction.
Vehicles from Kaniyampuzha Road too are unable to gain direct access to the junction.
Roads around the junction too have not been developed, despite funds being earmarked in the State budget for the proposed ring road around the junction.
The result was evident on Wednesday, which was observed as Bus Day, when buses were rerouted through the service roads on the northern side of the junction.
The narrow roads, and the even narrower underpass beneath the Vytilla bridge, were made one way.
Residents, schoolchildren and those who frequented the roads daily were caught unawares by the buses speeding through the narrow service road, which has slushy and ill-maintained road shoulders.
Motorists from the north-eastern side of the bypass had to drive all the way to the junction and wait in the long queue for the signal to cross over to the north-western side.
To ensure the safety of pedestrians and to enable vehicular traffic in either direction, there is widespread demand from residents and others that a wider area of the service roads be tarred.
A long-pending proposal to link the unused and un-tarred underpass located on the northern side of the tarred underpass, with adjacent roads is pending. This would enable vehicular movement in both directions till the flyovers are built.
NHAI's Kochi Project Director C.T. Abraham said that the unused underpass could be developed if the Vytilla Mobility Hub Society handed over funds for the same.
“We had submitted to them an estimate worth over Rs.1 crore.”
There is also a proposal to widen the narrow stretch from the Ponnurunni temple to the tarred underpass. This can be done if a few cents of land is acquired on either side.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Edapally Traffic) Baby Vinod said that motorists and pedestrians were finding it easier to travel through Vytilla after vendors were removed from the junction and side roads.
“A few more vendors and encroachers on the service road have to be removed and notices have been issued to them. There is also a proposal to make the traffic signal lights on the northern side of Vytilla junction functional.”
The Ring Road around Vytilla can be built by widening a few roads beside the national highway bypass and by making optimal use of the service roads and underpasses around the junction.
“The ring road will serve the purpose of a clover-leaf structure, which cannot be accommodated in the limited space at the junction. The idea is to enable a good share of vehicles to avoid Vytilla Junction once the bus terminal is fully commissioned. The ring road will also come in handy when it will be necessary to divert the vehicles for the piling and allied works for the flyovers proposed at Vytilla Junction,” said S. Gopakumar, president, Better Kochi Response Group that proposed the ring-road project.