Doubts over feasibility of box culvert over Andhakarathodu

The incomplete work site of the bridge over Andhakarathodu in Thripunithura, where a young motorbike rider fell to death recently.

The incomplete work site of the bridge over Andhakarathodu in Thripunithura, where a young motorbike rider fell to death recently. | Photo Credit: R.K. NITHIN

Even as residents’ associations and others have demanded a probe into the reported change of design of a structure that is under construction on Market Road over Andhakarathodu in Thripunithura, officials of PWD (Bridges wing) claimed that the decision to go in for a box culvert, instead of a conventional bridge, was taken as required by the soil condition of the area.

The ₹2-crore culvert that is under construction made headlines after a young motor bike rider lost his life after falling into the unmarked gap between the approach road and the structure a week ago.

Subsequently, inaugurating a protest, V.P. Prasad, chairman of Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Association (TRURA), demanded a probe into how the PWD decided to replace what was to be a 15-metre-long bridge over the waterbody, with an 8-metre-long box culvert. “It has to be seen whether the structure will be able to cater for vehicles in either direction while also ensuring safe movement of pedestrians. The box culvert will also defeat the very purpose of the ₹10-crore renovation work of Andhakarathodu, since it will become a choking point for boats that have been proposed through the man-made canal. We earnestly hope that the structure will cater for motorists from Puthiyakavu who used to proceed to the Seaport-Airport Road, through Market Road,” he said.

He cited a nearby bridge with 7.50 metres width and was flanked by 1.50 metre-wide footpaths.

On its part, Mission School Area Janamaithri Residents’ Association demanded a two-lane structure having a dedicated footpath, one which will not in any way affect the flow of water beneath. The project must be completed in a time-bound manner, while the contractor who failed to barricade the site must pay compensation to the family of the young accident victim and his pillion rider who suffered injuries, the association said.

Allegations are also rife that the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC) was not informed of the PWD’s decision to go in for a box culvert.

Sources in the PWD (Bridges wing) said they had decided to opt for the box culvert, as the soil condition of the area demanded such a structure. “The decision was arrived at on the basis of a feasibility study. It will not affect the water flow either. We have begun taking measures to prevent the banks of the canal near the construction site from caving in,” they said.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2022 12:36:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/doubts-over-feasibility-of-box-culvert-over-andhakarathodu/article65514852.ece