Traffic quagmire at Vyttila gives commuters a nightmare

The mounting traffic chaos at Vyttila Junction, over 10 months after a six-lane flyover was commissioned at what is the biggest traffic intersection in Kerala, has led to fears that the quagmire will worsen when schools and other educational institutions reopen in November.

Traffic police, civic officials and others have expressed outrage at the inordinate delay by the State Government and PWD (NH wing) in lessening the extent of the unscientific roundabout and expansive medians beneath the flyover.

“It is shocking that assurances by the PWD and the State Government to rectify grave discrepancies in the design of the structures beneath the flyover have not materialised, despite serpentine snarls and chaotic traffic movement at the junction. The least that they should do is to make optimal use of the space available beneath the flyover, which the PWD unduly raised by building concrete formations,” said Sunitha Dixon, chairperson of Kochi Corporation’s Works Standing Committee and the councillor representing Vyttila Division.

“Minister for Public Works Mohamed Riyas, who did a site inspection of Vyttila and convened meetings to arrive at short and long-term solutions to end traffic snarls at the junction, must urgently intervene and ensure that the slew of decisions taken at the meetings are implemented. He must also pull up PWD (NH Wing) officials concerned who failed to act on the decisions taken early this year. This is because both political and official apathy is evident in the inordinate delay in chipping away parts of the roundabout and medians, which would have streamlined traffic flow at the busiest junction in Kerala,” she said.

Ms. Dixon expressed outrage over the absence of footpaths, despite thousands of pedestrians converging at the junction every day. The government has also not acted, despite land being set apart at the Vyttila Mobility Hub, to build a road linking Kaniampuzha Road and Vyttila-Thripunithura Road.

Police peeved at inaction

A senior police official expressed dismay at nothing being done, despite the traffic police being forced to close down the road on the northern side of the roundabout and diverting vehicles from SA Road to Thripunithura through an alternative track on the southern side. “Faulty engineering by the PWD has thrown movement of traffic and pedestrians at the junction into disarray. Sadly, the department has not stepped in to set things right, despite short and long-term solutions being zeroed in, at a site visit-cum-meeting held by top officials of the police, Kochi Corporation, district administration and people’s representatives.”

While slamming the PWD for not acting on requests by the police, he said the department erred even while assessing the traffic pattern at the junction, since the flyover caters to just 30% of vehicles, mostly long-distance ones.

The rest have to jostle for space and wait on end at the signal junction beneath.

Palarivattom model

In the meantime, an official who played a key role in readying the traffic-movement plan beneath the Palarivattom Junction wherein vehicles through Civil Line Road rely on a pair of U-turns constructed beneath the four-lane flyover, said such a system must be adopted, at least on the Palarivattom side of the Vyttila Junction, where traffic hold-ups are acute.

“This can be done if an approximately two-lane width of space is chipped off from the hefty concrete median that the PWD built beneath the flyover, beneath spans which have adequate vertical clearance to carry heavy vehicles. Likewise, vehicles from Kaniampuzha Road must be diverted through the Vyttila Hub, since their direct entry into Vyttila Junction is worsening traffic hold ups,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 9:55:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/traffic-quagmire-at-vyttila-gives-commuters-a-nightmare/article36976069.ece

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