District level purchase committee to fix compensation amount; government sets apart Rs 48 crore
The agonizing wait by motorists to cross the South overbridge is likely to end in a couple of years as land acquisition is set to begin for the Atlantis overbridge.
The proposed bridge will take away a large number of vehicles that currently use the bottlenecked South overbridge. The two-lane bridge has four-lane roads on either side and hence motorists have to vie with one another to enter the bridge. The proposal to rebuild the bridge as a four-lane structure is yet to be given serious attention mainly because of the delay of about a decade in acquiring land for the Atlantis overbridge that runs parallel to it.
The government had set apart Rs 48 crore for acquiring land over an acre for the Atlantis bridge. “Land acquisition is in the final stage and the district-level purchase committee has to fix the compensation amount. The Revenue Department must acquire land so that we can hand it over to the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK), which will build the bridge,” said sources in Kochi Corporation.
Though JNNURM funds are available to build the two-lane bridge, the State government has to bear the cost of acquiring land. The initial plan was to build the bridge over the existing level-crossing, for which land acquisition was minimal. But this had to be dropped since the distance from the level crossing to MG Road was too short for constructing the bridge’s western ramp. This would make the ramp very steep.
The present proposal is to construct the overbridge from the southern side of the road that leads to the level-crossing from Panampilly Nagar so that it runs parallel to MG Road for a distance and ends on the road between Atlantis Junction and Thevara, near the southern gate of Cochin Shipyard. This is feasible, though more land would have to be acquired.
Sources in the RBDCK said unlike the initial proposal, more land would have to be acquired for the new alignment since a major portion of the bridge will pass through private land. “Vacant space behind the Sales Tax office and some land belonging to a car dealer will be acquired. The bridge’s western portion will end near the car showroom. The bridge’s alignment will be in the shape of an ‘S’, since care has been taken to avoid buildings.”
Though some vehicles in the east-west direction can be diverted through the Salim Rajan Road flyover when the South bridge is rebuilt, the Atlantis bridge will be crucial to carry heavy vehicles proceeding to the city and back.
Interestingly, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E Sreedharan had visited the bridge site a fortnight ago since the South overbridge might be rebuilt into a four-lane structure along with the metro rail construction. Sources said the DMRC was keen to take up reconstruction of the South bridge so that its widening work is completed along with the construction of the metro’s pillars.