Kochi

Delay in State sanctions leaves foot overbridge projects hanging fire

The lack of designated crossings and heavy traffic in the area make walkingacross Shanmugham Road near Menaka an ordeal. Photo: Vipin Chandran

The lack of designated crossings and heavy traffic in the area make walkingacross Shanmugham Road near Menaka an ordeal. Photo: Vipin Chandran  

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Project worth Rs. 2.75 crore waiting for approval

: Proposals by different agencies to set up foot overbridges in different parts of the city are gathering dust, despite vulnerability of pedestrians crossing the road.

An example is a foot overbridge proposed at Menaka corridor by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA). “The Rs 2.75-crore project involved constructing a steel foot overbridge, which could be accessed through escalators on each side. Though PWD which owns the road gave the nod early this year, State Government’s administrative sanction is getting delayed because of a few officials at the Government Secretariat,” said N. Venugopal, chairman of GCDA.

“The State Government will not have to bear any expense for the project since GCDA has funds for the project. Maintenance cost, too, will be minimal since the structure is made of steel. We had to approach the Government since any project costing over Rs. 50 lakh needs its sanction.”

GCDA has readied another proposal for an extended foot overbridge built over the footpath in the M.G. Road-High Court-KINCO Boat Jetty stretch. “Pedestrians would be able to access it from either side through escalators,” Mr Venugopal said.

The proposal to build a foot overbridge at congested Kaloor Junction too is hanging fire.

That aside, most junctions along Edapally-Vytilla-Aroor NH 47 Bypass do not have pedestrian lines, due to lack of interest shown by National Highways Authority of India. A proposal to construct a skywalk linking different sides of Vytilla Junction remains on paper.

The sole silver lining is a foot overbridge envisaged at Edapally Junction alongside the upcoming flyover. “It will have escalators from NH Bypass, NH 17 and Edapally School,” DMRC officials said.

Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic East), K.E. Joy said that care must be taken so that upcoming foot overbridges do not meet the fate of the one that was dismantled over a decade ago at Kacheripady Junction. “People seldom used it since there were no escalators. This in turn made it a haven for anti-social elements.”

Mr Joy also demanded removal of billboards, flag posts etc., from road sides since they encroached into footpaths and pavements, choking space available for pedestrians. This made many pedestrians to walk along the road, risking their life, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 9:46:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/delay-in-state-sanctions-leaves-foot-overbridge-projects-hanging-fire/article6675126.ece

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