The State Government's delay in sanctioning funds and in approving the scheme mooted by the Corporation of Kochi to hasten land acquisition, is stifling four-laning of two crucial road corridors in Kochi – the Padma Junction-Pullepady-Thammanam-Chakkaraparambu road and the Mamangalam-Goshree road.

These proposed four-lane stretches could have been used to divert a major portion of traffic when the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) dismantles the side bays of the Ernakulam North overbridge in the initial phase of the work to construct a four-lane bridge in its place.

Mayor Tony Chammany said that the Corporation is awaiting the State Government's approval for the scheme that permits people who surrender their land for the Thammanam-Pullepady road, to transfer development rights of their premises. “As for the Mamangalam-Goshree road, we are awaiting funds from the Government to widen it. A few problems relating to the road's alignment too have to be sorted out.” Despite traffic in the city set to be thrown into disarray when the North overbridge is rebuilt in phases, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to begin work to build the flyovers that it mooted about a decade ago in the congested Edapally, Palarivattom, Vytilla and Kundanoor junctions.

Four-laning of the Vallarpadam-Kalamassery road through which a portion of traffic from Kalamassery to Menaka could have been diverted when the overbridge is rebuilt, too is long pending.

The PWD and the Kochi Corporation have not yet worked out a plan to build a flyover/overbridge at the busy Kaloor junction where traffic blocks occur all through the day.

DMRC's concern

Expressing concern at civic agencies being unable to ready alternative roads, bridges and flyovers prior to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) rebuilding the North overbridge, sources in the agency said that the delay in beginning work on the Rs 70-crore bridge would increase the project cost by Rs 1 lakh per day.

“Aimed at preventing further delay, we had volunteered to widen and resurface the Thammanam-Pullepady Road if the Government handed over the land required for the purpose. We are yet to hear from the Corporation and other agencies concerned.”

The GCDA has in the meantime refused to allow the DMRC to stack construction materials and equipments required for the bridge reconstruction on the Manappattiparambu Ground. It has instead suggested a ground near the second Goshree bridge, from which the materials would have to be transported through the busy Banerjee Road.

With alternative roads and flyovers nowhere near completion, the general opinion is that the DMRC should rebuild the North bridge only after a couple of alternative stretches are ready.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation plans to demolish Ernakulam North overbridge soon

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