PWD stirred into action following fatal accident

A pair of motorbikes involved in an accident due to the bad condition of the Kundannoor overbridge maintained by the PWD NH wing.   | Photo Credit: Vibhu H.

The PWD-NH Wing has stirred into action, having faced considerable flak for the shoddy condition of the 2-km-long Kundannoor bridge, and the death of a young motorbike rider on Friday over the undulated structure.

The accident occurred after a motorbike rider proceeding from Kundannoor to Thevara suddenly veered off his lane and entered the wrong side to avoid a severely undulated portion on the bridge. The unwary youth coming from Thevara was thrown off his bike in the resultant collision and died.

With public fury mounting against the PWD, the agency decided to resurface the entire bridge that had been resurfaced using mastic asphalt three years ago. “A bituminous macadam (BC) resurfacing was done yet again since potholes and undulations developed yet again on the bridge surface. Still, undulations surfaced in 2020, following which patch works were done, including with concrete. A few potholes were yet again filled with cold-mix bitumen a week ago,” PWD sources said.

Even this failed to ensure a smooth ride for motorists, culminating in Saturday’s fatal accident.

Police peeved

“We had written many letters to the PWD to ensure the accident-prone bridge’s upkeep. The fatal accident could have been averted had the bridge been in good condition,” said sources in City Traffic Police (East).

"With repeated repair works not yielding the desired results, it has been decided to scoop out the patched-up portions from tonight (June 21), following which BC resurfacing will be done using mechanised paver. Men and materials have been kept ready for this," the PWD sources said.

This will be followed by BC resurfacing of Alexander Parambithara Bridge and clearing of the overgrowth of weeds and shrubs that hamper the view of the NH stretch that lies ahead and ends at Mattancherry BOT bridge Junction.

Perennial problem

The potholed surface of Kundannoor bridge has been a perennial problem during the past two decades, causing fatal and non-fatal accidents. So much so that residents of the area had submitted complaints to the PWD and Maradu Municipality, about the unusual vibrations they felt when container lorries and other heavy vehicles passed through the bridge which is among the longest in Kerala. The bridge is also ill-lit.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:10:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pwd-stirred-into-action-following-fatal-accident/article34892414.ece

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