The Uppidamoodu-Vanchiyoor-Pattoor stretch will be widened only to a three-lane road, instead of the proposed four-lane, following disputes over the felling of 56 trees on the route. The stretch acts as an alternative corridor when the arterial road gets blocked in the city.
The trees, majority of them rain trees, which are near the Amayizhinjan canal need to be cut to make the road a four-lane stretch under the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP). Also, the canal on the stretch has to be covered with pre-stressed double box like culverts to allow motor vehicles to pass through.
The Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), the executing agency of CRIP, needs the permission of the Forest Department to cut the trees. As this permission is not forthcoming, the authorities say they have no option but to restrict the stretch to a three-lane one.
They say that a four-lane road would have smoothened vehicular flow when traffic is diverted once marches are taken out to the Secretariat and the Assembly building. They add that there will be a surge in the traffic along the road once the flyover at Melepazhavangadi across the arterial road comes up.
Criterion for ‘tree'
The development of the stretch has assumed significance with the improvement of General Hospital Junction, one of the busiest on the 9.56-km Airport-Asan Square-MLA Hostel Road corridor.
It has been pointed out that when the CRIP commenced five years ago these trees had a girth under 30 cm, the minimum level required for a plant to qualify as ‘tree'. Hence, officials point out, the Forest Department's approval would not have been necessary for felling the trees then. But, the authorities hesitated, fearing the wrath of environmentalists.
As per the detailed project report, the General Hospital-Vanchiyoor road, one of the most congested stretches in the capital, is to be made one-way to ease traffic. But, traffic officials have not given approval to the proposal that will ease congestion in front of Holy Angels' Convent.
The development of the Uppidamoodu-Vanchiyoor-Pattoor road will facilitate easy movement of vehicles to Pattoor and avoid chaos near the old Collectorate and Vanchiyoor, they say.