To restrict heavy vehicle traffic through Ponnara bridge
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has approached the State government to expedite the construction of the new bridge from the Kazhakuttam-Inchivila NH 47 bypass from Paruthikuzhi to Valiyathura and Shanghumughom side, in order to restrict the movement of heavy vehicles through the existing Ponnara bridge.
The AAI had decided to restrict the movement of heavy vehicles through the narrow Ponnara bridge as it was creating safety hazards since it is close to the approach of the 3,398-m runway and the eastern boundary wall of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, sources told The Hindu.
Airport Director V.N. Chandran, who called on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy this week, sought his help to expedite the construction of a new bridge.
The AAI had been pointing out that the movement and presence of heavy trucks on the old Ponnara bridge was creating blind spots for the Air Traffic Control personnel and that it was a safety hazard. The aircraft that approaches the Runway 32 of the airport flew above the bridge from Muttathara side. Besides, the bridge was a favourite place for those taking photographs of the aircraft making a touchdown from the eastern side.
The AAI request comes in the wake of the delay in constructing the proposed new heavy bridge across the sewerage farm from Paruthikuzhi side. As the eastern side of the airport boundary wall has quite a lot of residential houses, the AAI will permit the movement of light motor vehicles through the old Ponnara bridge even after the completion of the new bridge.
A sum of Rs.1 crore had been set aside in the Budget for the proposed new bridge. But, no ground work had started. The local people and the residents of the Bangladesh Colony near the N.S. depot are not keen on a new bridge.
Dumping of waste near the approach to the runway and near the Ponnara bridge is also a concern for the AAI. Bird population has increased in the vicinity owing to the waste dumps and it raised safety concerns, sources said.