The long-overdue Kundannoor-Angamaly NH Bypass (named Ernakulam Bypass) has got a shot in the arm, with a tentative decision being taken to construct the stretch using Central funds, it is reliably learnt.
Once ready, the greenfield NH that would begin south of the NH 66 Bypass at Kundannoor and end at Karayamparambu on the northern side of Angamaly on NH 544, is expected to decongest the Aroor-Edappally NH 66 Bypass and the Edappally-Angamaly NH 544 corridor.
The NHAI’s alleged delay in approving the 3(A) notification for field-level survey to commence land acquisition on the corridor had been attributed to the insistence that the State government pool in with 25% of the cost of land acquisition, as had been done for widening the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod NH 66. The widening of the highway that is expected to get over by March 2025 picked up pace after the State gave its share of ₹5,580 cr.
The Centre’s tentative decision to fully fund expenses for land acquisition of Ernakulam Bypass is in turn expected to be followed by the NHAI’s head office approving the 3(A) notification – which would state the agency’s intention to acquire land. This would be followed by a month-long social impact assessment (SIA) study and the subsequent laying of boundary stones. This will shed light on the precise extent of land that would have to be acquired and the number of land owners who would have to be compensated. Although Revenue authorities had estimated earlier this year that 280 hectares of land would have to be acquired for the greenfield NH Bypass, this could lessen by up to 25%, it is learnt.
The laying of stones will be followed by the publishing of 3(D) notification and the award of compensation based on documents in possession of landowners. The entire land acquisition process is expected to be carried out by mid-2024, while the NH Bypass can be realised by 2027, if all goes well. The NHAI would be able to recoup the amount that would be invested for land acquisition and construction of the proposed Ernakulam Bypass in a decade, sources said.
The NHAI decided to hew out the new greenfield NH since the congested Edappally-Angamaly stretch of NH 544 was heavily built up, making large-scale land acquisition next to impossible. This is apart from the fact that the redevelopment of Edappally-Aroor NH 66 Bypass is overdue, despite serpentine traffic hold ups at junctions, they added.
It had been reported that the greenfield Ernakulam Bypass will in all probability merge with Kochi-Theni NH 85 stretch in Puthencruz at a trumpet intersection, from where vehicles from both the stretches are expected to take a common six-lane NH corridor all the way up to the junction proposed south of Kundanoor on Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass. A trumpet intersection (an elevated structure in between a conventional flyover and a clover-leaf flyover) was mooted here as well.