NHAI’s plan for flyovers at four junctions on NH-47 bypass yet to take off
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is in the dock for the inordinate delay in building flyovers proposed at Vyttila. Even the detailed project report (DPR) for the flyovers proposed by (NHAI) at Vyttila and three other congested junctions on the NH 47 Bypass is not ready.
Crossing Vyttila Junction is becoming a nightmare for motorists because they have to wait for at least five signal changes during peak hours. The endless wait at the junctions is annoying motorists, most of whom pay hefty toll for using the bypass.
‘Build at least one’
Former Mayor and Chairman of Kochi Corporation’s Town Planning Standing Committee K. J. Sohan said the NHAI should urgently build flyovers at Vyttila and Edappally. “The inordinate delay is costing commuters dearly. Even presuming that building two flyovers at each of the junctions is a cumbersome process, the NHAI must build at least one each in the two junctions. This would temporarily ease the snarls. Moreover, a simpler design will bring down the cost.”
NHAI’s Kochi Project Director C. T. Abraham said: “The DPR is being finalised after incorporating corrections in the draft DPR”. He said the flyovers proposed would run parallel to the existing roads. “Each will carry six lanes of traffic, since reasonable estimates say that over 55,000 passenger car units (PCUs) move in a single direction each day.” But he was not sure when the work will begin.
The project consultant is SNC Lavlin and they were entrusted with the DPR-preparation work in 2009. The draft DPR suggests two flyovers each in Vyttila and Edapally and one each in Kundanoor and Palarivattom. The total cost of the flyovers was estimated at Rs. 1,158 crore a year ago and they were to be completed in three years. The flyovers at Vyttila were estimated to cost Rs 251 crore. “The total cost has climbed to roughly 1,500 crore,” Mr Abraham said.
He added that the present toll will increase manifold once the flyovers are built. The estimate is Rs 80 per trip for cars by 2016. They now pay Rs 20 for a trip. The Minister for Public Works V K Ibrahim Kunju said in December last that the flyovers can be built faster if the Centre provided a grant.
The Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO) came up with a simpler proposal two years ago to decongest the junction. It suggested two flyovers located away from the junction. “We wanted to ensure that the metro rail need not have to pass over the two flyovers. Our scheme takes care of the metro which would retain its regular alignment height at Vyttila Junction. The government could take a policy decision on exempting the ever-busy junction from toll,” said Cyriac Davies, the MD of KITCO. “It is also comparatively cost-effective (against NHAI’s proposals) and does not require any major land acquisition,” Mr Davies said.
Reacting to allegations that funds spent by NHAI for its Aluva flyover could have been used for building a flyover at Vytilla, a busier junction, the agency’s Palakkad Project Director Ramanathan said it was built by the firm which turned the Angamaly-Mannuthy stretch of NH 47 into a four-laned road. “Public funds were not used for this. The toll for the stretch would have been the same even if there was no flyover at Aluva,” he said.
Those citing the non-necessity of the flyover had alleged that it was built so that the NHAI could include the Edapally-Angamaly stretch within the ambit of toll collection, thereby steeply increasing the toll amount.