Faced with mounting opposition from merchants and the traffic police to the move to totally ban traffic on 600-metre-long stretches on MG Road during weekends, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to restrict traffic curbs to two lanes of the four-lane road.
This means, one lane will be open to vehicles on either side when works are on during Saturdays and Sundays for four weeks. A total ban on traffic movement along Madhava Pharmacy Junction-Jos Junction stretch for two weeks had been mooted for excavating the four-lane stretch to locate pipelines and cables.
The Kerala Merchants’ Union was among the organisations that sought limiting of the excavation to two lanes at a time, so that vehicles can move along one free lane in both directions.
“With a decision being taken to limit excavation to two lanes at a time, we hope to get the permission of the traffic police, the District Administration and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to commence the works this weekend,” DMRC sources said.
The DMRC had used scanners to trace the utility conduits but could not locate many of them. “The KWA and most other agencies have not maintained proper records of the precise location of the utility ducts and we have no option but to dig up the road. It is crucial to locate them prior to commencing piling works for Kochi Metro’s civil works,” sources in the agency said.
With traffic curbs limited to two lanes, the DMRC expressed the confidence that the excavation work on the 2.5-km stretch can be done on four weekends. As per the plan, work will be confined to a 600-metre stretch at any given time. The ducts will be relocated if need be, based on the piling requirements.
“Vehicles will be diverted through the Chittoor Road, Banerjee Road and Shanmugham Road, depending on the need,” said a senior traffic police officer.
The PWD had resurfaced the road a few months ago at a cost of around Rs 6 crore, disregarding concerns raised by metro stakeholders that it would have to be dug up for locating and shifting utility conduits and for metro’s civil works.
Utility-related works are expected to conclude by July end, following which the road will be temporarily restored. “The metro’s civil works will begin only after Onam. This is because we do not want to disrupt festival sales during the season along the prime commercial street,” a senior DMRC official said.
As part of the civil works, 200-metre stretches will be barricaded at intervals. “Though the works across the Aluva-Pettah alignment are expected to get over in 24 months, we will strive to complete the work on the pillars and viaduct along M.G. Road in 18 months’ time,” sources said.
In the meantime, the contract to build the viaduct and stations on the international stadium-Ernakulam South stretch has been awarded to Soma Constructions and that for the South-Pettah stretch to Era Constructions.
The DMRC has estimated the works to cost Rs 360 crore and Rs 345 crore respectively.