Kochi

Palarivattom flyover reopened for traffic

Vehicles began using the Palarivattom flyover from Sunday evening when it was reopened for traffic.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

The four-lane Palarivattom flyover, which was rebuilt by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in a record time of five months and 10 days, was opened for traffic on Sunday evening.

Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran and Chief Engineer of PWD (NH Wing) were among those present on the occasion. There was no official inauguration, as the model code of conduct is in vogue.

Mr. Sudhakaran said the flyover could have been completed nine months before, but for contractor bodies approaching the High Court demanding that load test be done to ascertain the strength of the original flyover which developed cracks within two years of its commissioning in 2016.

Tension

Soon after the flyover was opened, there was tension when LDF and BJP activists converged near the structure, bearing flags. While LDF activists celebrated the opening of the structure, those of the BJP alleged that the State government had failed to give due credit to DMRC Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan who was in charge of the overall supervision of the reconstruction work. A huge posse of police personnel was present.

Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had credited workers who braved rain and shine to complete the reconstruction ahead of schedule in his Facebook page.

During his inspection of the structure on Thursday, Mr. Sreedharan had credited Kozhikode-based Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS), the contracting firm to which the metro agency awarded the reconstruction project, for completing it three months ahead of the eight-month deadline.

Work site management

Both DMRC and ULCCS had won applause from Kochiites for completing the work ahead of schedule without inconveniencing motorists and causing sound and air pollution. Post-demolition, the two agencies worked in tandem to clear concrete and steel debris from the busy junction in a prompt manner. Diverting traffic through a pair of new U-turns was well received by motorists.

The State government decided to rebuild the flyover, as it would ensure 100-year life span for the structure. This was because structural engineering experts had said that strengthening piers and crack-prone pier caps and girders of the original structure through carbon-fibre wrapping would limit life of the flyover to just 20 years.

The structure had dozens of cracks which were beyond the maximum permitted width of 0.03 mm. Experts from IIT-Madras who inspected the structure had said that the cracks had happened due to flaws in design, faulty placement of bearings, and inadequate usage of materials, especially steel.

Meanwhile, a probe by the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) is under way into irregularities in the construction of the original structure which cost ₹47.70 crore. Former Minister for Public Works V.K. Ibrahim Kunju and then PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj were among those who were arrayed as accused in the case. The reconstruction of the cracked components cost approximately ₹18 crore.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 1:28:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/palarivattom-flyover-reopened-for-traffic/article34014849.ece

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