Narrow roads result in bridge not living up to expectations of augmenting east-west connectivity

The Pullepady overbridge might be the sole one in the city that is wider than its approach roads.

The narrow roads have resulted in the bridge not living up to its expectations of augmenting east-west connectivity, for no fault of its builder — Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK).

Though the bridge was commissioned in June 2010, the Kochi Corporation has not so far widened the bridge’s approach roads where only one-way traffic is permitted.

Traffic congestion

This has resulted in the 474-metre-long, Rs 16.50-crore bridge being underutilised. The narrow approach roads and the bridge’s service roads further contribute to the congestion at the entry point to the bridge’s eastern side where the toll booth is located, causing traffic hold-ups.

Two-and three-wheelers which are exempt from toll too are caught in the melee. This chaos has resulted in buses not using the stretch, defeating the cause of public transport.

However, the bridge came in handy to divert two-and three-wheelers that were denied entry to the North overbridge which is being widened.

AL Jacob overbridge

The opening of A.L. Jacob overbridge where toll is not imposed has led to a fall in demand for the bridge and a subsequent reduction in toll collection, RBDCK sources said.

The bridge’s approach spans were ready by 2006, but delay by the Railways in constructing the 27-metre portion over the rail lines delayed its commissioning by another four years.

“The toll contractor who was chosen through open tender, bid for the contract for Rs 54 lakh, for the period from November 2012 to October 2013. The toll period is 15 years and the revenue from toll so far is approximately Rs 1.95 crore,” sources said.

Still, all that the State government has earmarked for the agency in the year’s budget is Rs 6 crore.

This comes at a time when five bridges, which together cost around Rs 100 crore, are getting ready for commissioning in different parts of the State.

Narrow approach roads

As for widening the bridge’s approach roads to the proposed 22-metre width, sources in Kochi Corporation said that around 80 people have handed over their lands as free surrender.

Land acquisition proceedings will be initiated to take over the rest of the land required, from around 100 people. Priority has been given to the stretch from Padma Junction to the bridge and then to the portion from the bridge up to Katrikadavu bridge.

The State government’s recent ‘no’ to handing over funds for land acquisition for Kochi’s road and bridge projects has come as a shocker to the proposed widening of the stretch between Padma Junction and Chakkaraparambu on the NH Bypass, on which the Pullepady bridge is located.

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