With more Kochi metro work sites set to be barricaded in the coming weeks, the City Traffic Police are giving final touches to a traffic management plan.
The traffic police are confident the civil works will not pose hiccups to commuters. However, the delay in evicting encroachments along the project’s 25-km alignment could stifle traffic movement.
The onus of identifying and removing encroachments is on the Revenue Department and civic agencies, but they are yet to begin the work in right earnest. Uniform width of roads is crucial for smooth traffic flow as eight metres at the centre of roads will be barricaded at intervals for a period of two years, sources associated with the metro said.
City Police Commissioner K.G. James said traffic was unlikely to be thrown out of gear along roads with a width of 15 metres or more. “Parking curbs will be strictly implemented as traffic has to flow in single lane tracks on either side of the road. There is still some concern about managing traffic when metro’s works begin in the Vyttila-Pettah corridor and a few areas in Kaloor.”
The PWD has not yet begun widening the two-lane Vyttila-Pettah stretch. Encroachments and haphazard parking along the stretch has made matters worse.
On vehicles that obstruct free flow of vehicles, Mr James said mini recovery vans would be procured to tow them away. “The metro’s barricades will occupy eight metres of the road width and so a carelessly-parked vehicle can hold up traffic along arterial roads.” The Traffic Police have chalked out a tentative traffic management plan that will take effect after more work sites are barricaded. “Our assessment is that curbs would have to be introduced only on lorries. The other vehicles would be able to enter and leave the city as before. Barricades at metro’s 200-metre-long work site at Edappally have not affected movement of vehicles,” said Assistant Commissioner of City Traffic Police K.S. Baby Vinod.
Referring to possible traffic diversions at Aluva, he said the service road on the western side of the Aluva-Pulinchodu stretch would be out of bounds for vehicles since the metro’s alignment passed above this stretch.
The Pulinchodu-Edappally portion of the NH was wide enough and vehicles could proceed along the stretch at the same pace if two metres of the road shoulder on either side were tarred and added to the carriageway. The police have requested Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to tar road shoulders wherever possible along the metro’s 25-km- alignment so that there is no traffic dislocation when civil works are under way.
“The Edappally-Palarivattom SN Junction stretch is reasonably wide, but for encroachments. A few vehicles might be diverted from Edappally through the NH Bypass, if need be,” Mr. Vinod said.
Similarly, buses might be diverted through Pottakuzhi, Elamakkara and also through Thammanam, when metro’s works are under way along the relatively narrow Palarivattom-Kaloor stretch.
Managing traffic in the Kaloor-MG Road stretch would not be much of a hassle if the DMRC completed the widening of the North overbridge and the Town Hall-M G Road stretch before the year end, as scheduled.
Mr. Vinod said the Railway had promised to build a new gate as traffic along South railway station’s approach road would be affected when the stretch was barricaded. “Train passengers should be encouraged to use the station’s eastern entry, decongesting the main entry.”
Diversion of buses
Diversion of buses through A.L. Jacob overbridge would considerably ease the strain of traffic along South overbridge and SA Road.
The contract to build the viaduct and stations in the international stadium-Ernakulam south stretch has been awarded to Soma Constructions and the contract for the South-Pettah stretch to Era Constructions.