Kochi

PWD proposes underpass at Collectorate Junction in Kakkanad

Collectorate Junction at Kakkanad is among the most congested in Kochi.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

The PWD (Roads Wing) has submitted a proposal to the State government to build an underpass at Collectorate Junction, for inclusion in the upcoming State Budget, to streamline traffic through the congested junction on Seaport-Airport Road.

In addition, the agency is formulating a proposal to widen the stretch from Bharat Mata College to Collectorate Junction and the portion from Infopark Junction to Irumpanam into four-lane, for government approval. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is already engaged in widening the corridor from Collectorate Junction to Infopark Junction as part of the metro’s Kakkanad extension. For now, the PWD has done patch work on potholed portions, using bituminous concrete, District Collector Jafar Malik said.

Land available

Land was acquired at 30-metre width by the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) for the 11.50-km-long Seaport-Airport Road over two decades ago, to develop it into a four-lane corridor. Successive governments turned down proposals in this regard, despite a massive increase in the number of vehicles and accidents on the stretch. This resulted in the agency being able to widen only the limited stretch from HMT Junction to Bharat Mata College. Even worse, the width of the tarred carriageway from Chitrapuzha Bridge to Irumpanam is still limited to seven metres, leaving little room for safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles.

The PWD took over the road in 2020, while the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) is still in charge of extending it beyond HMT Junction up to the international airport.

“The rest of the stretch can be widened without much hassles, since embankments to support the road are limited to mostly the Collectorate Junction-Olimugal Junction stretch. With KMRL engaged in widening the portion through which the metro viaduct will pass, the PWD’s job has been made easy, especially so since the tarred carriageway and vacant land on either side are at much the same height elsewhere on the corridor. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board [KIIFB] can easily allot funds, especially since there is no need for fresh land acquisition,” official sources said.

Interestingly, the road has withstood continuous criss-crossing by goods carriers, including bullet tankers and container lorries. So much so that it has not been resurfaced, about two decades since it was commissioned by the RBDCK. Patch works were done in the past few years.

Underpass

Minimal land acquisition is required for the underpass mooted at Collectorate Junction, to ready service roads on either side. This is unlikely to be a problem, since land on all four sides is owned by government agencies. It would be ideal if the underpass is built parallel to Seaport-Airport Road, since a huge pipeline carrying water to the Kochi Refinery and those carrying naphta and petroleum products may hamper the construction of an underpass perpendicular to the road, sources said.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:16:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pwd-proposes-underpass-at-collectorate-junction-in-kakkanad/article37815752.ece

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