Venduruthy, Edappally to be commissioned on February 4
The bridge built parallel to the Venduruthy bridge and the Edappally overbridge would be thrown open to traffic on February 4, by Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy respectively.
The new bridge has been christened Venduruthy Vikrant, heeding a request from the Indian Navy and in commemoration of the contributions made by INS Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier, now decommissioned.
The Navy contributed Rs 12 crore for the Rs 36-crore project. The Kerala Road Fund Board chipped in with rest of the funds. The Cochin Port Trust, an important beneficiary, refused to share the cost of building the new bridge, PWD sources said.
The bridge would considerably enhance connectivity between Kochi city and Willingdon Island.
Commuters now use the old bridge built by the British in the late 1930s that withstood the impact of two dredgers deployed by the Port Trust ramming into it a few years ago. The work on the railway bridge being built parallel to the Venduruthy bridge, is not progressing as scheduled.
Work is in progress to build an underpass that will link the Naval Base with the naval residential area on the other side of the road.
The construction work of the Edappally overbridge began about a decade ago, with an estimated cost of Rs 18 crore.
The inordinate delay in commissioning it occurred because Kayikkara Constructions, the contracting firm that first took up the bridge work, was unable to complete the project.
There was widespread public protest against the PWD, following which the firm was blacklisted. Subsequently, the pending work was retendered twice and in 2010 the contract was awarded to Cherian Varkey Construction Company for Rs 21.76 crore. The Railways had completed the portion over the rails over five years ago.
Both the bridges are two-lane ones and the revised deadlines to commission them expired in September last.