The project to develop Conolly canal in the city into a major waterway is all set to be speeded up, with Kerala Waterways and Infrastructures Ltd. (KWIL) zeroing in on an agency to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report (DPR).
Lee Associates, a Canadian firm, has been shortlisted from 10 companies that submitted expressions of interest to KWIL.
The 23 bridges, including four on major roads, across the Conolly canal are the main hurdles to the development of the canal. “All the bridges are very low and hence need to be raised, so that boats could pass under them,” KWIL sources told The Hindu .
A call on widening or deepening the canal can be taken only on the basis of the DPR. However, roads and houses along the 11.2-km canal may be affected if the waterbody is widened. “We are trying to ensure optimum use of available space without having to acquire more land. The mini bypass could be elevated to accommodate a wider canal,” the sources said.
Some vacant government land is available on the eastern side of the canal, and it could be used in case the canal has to be widened. “The boundaries of the canal, constructed in 1848, have not been properly determined yet,” they added.
Closing drainages that open into the canal and the development of a waste water disposal facility are likely to be considered. Lee Associates will submit the DPR in less than six months.
KWIL has been taking care of the canal for the past few years.