Govt. sanctions study for tunnel linking Fort Kochi and Vypeen

The State government has sanctioned a feasibility study to establish road connectivity between Vypeen and Fort Kochi by constructing an underground tunnel or elevated corridor to ensure that the proposed coastal highway can be realised without any break, Minister for Public Works P.A. Mohamed Riyas said in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question raised by K.N. Unnikrishnan, Vypeen MLA. Larsen & Toubro, the consultant engaged to ready a detailed project report (DPR) for the coastal highway project (supervised by the Kerala Road Fund Board) that would pass through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, has been tasked with conducting a feasibility study of the two proposals and ready an estimate. The need for road connectivity between Vypeen and Fort Kochi had recently figured in a discussion organised by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) on the coastal highway project. The two locales are now linked by a pair of roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferries.

Mr. Unnikrishnan had even earlier cited the need to establish road connectivity between the two densely populated locales which are separated by the shipping channel. The alignment for the coastal highway stretch through Vypeen is ready, and the speedy completion of a feasibility study on establishing connectivity with Fort Kochi will help take ahead the project, he added.

Jose Paul, the former acting chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai, and former chairman of Mormugao Port Trust, had mooted the idea of an underwater tunnel linking Puthuvype and Fort Kochi in 2015, following the Fort Kochi boat accident that claimed 11 lives. A doctorate degree holder in port management from the University of Wales, UK, he suggested a 2-km-long tunnel that could be built at a cost of ₹1,500 crore, approximately 35 metres below the seabed.

The tunnel could take off around 800 metres from the shore on either side. Marginal land acquisition would be necessary at the exit point on the Fort Kochi-end, Mr. Paul said. The tunnel will thus provide seamless north-south connectivity for the coastal highway.

On the famous 50-km-long tunnel across the English Channel in the North Sea connecting Dover in the UK with Calais in Northern France, he said it was 75 metres under the seabed. Trains ran at a speed of 160 km per hour through the corridor that was built in 1994. A recent construction at Istanbul in Turkey was the 5.40-km-long double-deck undersea tunnel, which is 60 metres below the seabed and links Europe with Asia.

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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 3:48:45 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/govt-sanctions-study-for-tunnel-linking-fort-kochi-and-vypeen/article65576823.ece