Though Salim Rajan overbridge is expected to be commissioned in the first week of May, civic agencies have done little to streamline vehicles that will throng the roads on either side.
The fear is rife that chaos will reign at the junctions where Rajaji Road meets Chitoor Road, and further ahead with MG Road.
The Kochi Corporation that owns Rajaji and Chitoor Roads has done nothing to widen the extremely narrow bell mouths of the two junctions. Cutting a tree or two, relocating a few electric posts, removal of encroachments and minimal land acquisition will considerably widen the bell mouths.
These steps are necessary to avert traffic chaos at the junction. The situation might worsen when a shopping mall that is in its final stage of construction is opened at the junction. The two junctions are bottlenecked, even though the bridge has not been opened to vehicles.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (City Traffic) K.S. Baby Vinod said a traffic signal would be installed at MG Road junction, for which the State Road Safety Authority has granted Rs.10.50 lakh. “Keltron has been entrusted with the task. A similar signal system and synchronisation between the two is required at Rajaji Road-Chitoor Road Junction too.”
Mr. Vinod has suggested the widening of Amman Kovil Road, so that smaller vehicles can use it to access the new bridge. On the bridge’s other end, the traffic police will not allow vehicles to criss-cross each other at Kumaranasan Square. Vehicles will have to use Katrikadavu Bridge’s underpass and the U-turn located further south to enter and exit the Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road.
As per traffic-regulation plan, long-distance KSRTC buses that ply through Vyttila will be diverted through the new bridge. “They can reach Vyttila through Kavalakkal Bhagawathy Temple and Subhash Bose Road, bypassing Chitoor Road and the congested South overbridge,” Mr. Vinod said. The new bridge will decongest the Pullepady bridge, whose approach roads are too narrow. Once buses are diverted through the bridge when work begins for Kochi metro, branches of a few trees in Gandhinagar that hamper free movement of buses will be pruned.
As of now, the immediate approach road to the bridge from the KSRTC bus stand side has been widened into a two-lane road by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which is constructing the bridge. For this, around two-metre-wide portion of the stand and about two cents of land at a curve in front of the stand have been added to the road’s width.
The chairman of Kochi Corporation’s Town Planning Standing Committee K.J. Sohan said that the stakeholders of Kochi Metro must spearhead the widening of narrow curves. “Widening the two bottlenecked junctions too is inevitable. This apart, we would remove a couple of encroachments on Rajaji Road, to ensure smooth flow of vehicles.”
The new bridge would be named A L Jacob Road, after the former Minister and five-time MLA, he said.