Uncertainty clouds bridge projects

Work on Vaduthala, Atlantis, Vathuruthy overbridges was entrusted to RBDCK a decade ago

Protest is brewing against the inordinate delay in launching work on overbridge projects that are hanging fire in Kochi and its immediate suburbs.

Prominent among them are the Vaduthala, Atlantis and Vathuruthy overbridges, work on which was entrusted to the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) about a decade ago. Little has taken place, though funds for the bridges were earmarked in the 2016-17 budget.

“Cumbersome procedures to get KIIFB funding, delay in doing social impact assessment and problems associated with land acquisition are the major reasons for the delay. On its part, the RBDCK ought to be proactive in pursuing these projects,” said Hibi Eden, MLA.

Another long-pending bridge project is the one linking Vaduthala with Korongotta Island. The islanders now depend on ferry to commute to the mainland, he said.

The outcome of meetings convened by ministers to review road and bridge projects was doubtful. It was high time a nodal officer was appointed to oversee the progress of such projects in Ernakulam district, said Mr. Eden.

Referring to the proposal for Vaduthala overbridge costing approximately ₹47 crore, he said boundary stones were laid and the land needed for the bridges marked long time ago. As for Atlantis overbridge, around 70% of the land acquisition got over, when it was included under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. The then United Democratic Front (UDF) government had allotted ₹47 crore for this. Another ₹47 crore is needed to complete land acquisition and build the bridge.

‘Funds awaited’

Sources in the RBDCK said they were awaiting KIIFB funds for completing land acquisition and beginning work on the Atlantis bridge.

They said work on the Vathuruthy bridge was yet to commence since the Navy and the Cochin Port Trust were opposed to two of the three alignments that the RBDCK had proposed. Though the third alignment was preferred, a final word was awaited from the stakeholders.

With the overbridge project suffering delay, the demand is gaining ground for an underpass at Vathuruthy, which will incur lesser cost than that of a flyover.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:15:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/uncertainty-clouds-bridge-projects/article24506996.ece

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