Kerala

KMRL moots ‘metro neo’ for two key corridors

The ‘metro neo’ has been proposed in the six-km Thripunithura-Kakkanad (Infopark) corridor and in the 4-km MG Road-Menaka-Park Avenue Road-Hospital Road-MG Road corridor.

The ‘metro neo’ has been proposed in the six-km Thripunithura-Kakkanad (Infopark) corridor and in the 4-km MG Road-Menaka-Park Avenue Road-Hospital Road-MG Road corridor. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has envisaged ‘metro neo’, a cost-effective system of mass rapid transport (MRT), to ferry commuters en masse in the six-km Thripunithura-Kakkanad (Infopark) corridor and in the 4-km MG Road-Menaka-Park Avenue Road-Hospital Road-MG Road corridor.

The development comes as the metro agency is readying to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the commissioning of the metro (in the 12-km-long Aluva-Palarivattom corridor). “The metro neo will be like the trolley bus system in Europe. Such a corridor built along the road would cost about ₹35 crore per km, while an elevated stretch would cost approximately ₹60 crore per km. A four-km metro neo stretch can be built for the same cost as a kilometre of conventional metro rail,” KMRL managing director Loknath Behera told The Hindu on Monday.

“The elevated rail can be taken along the side of narrow roads [like Banerjee Road] and through the centre of wide roads [like Shanmukham Road]. Being a corridor having high footfall potential, this could even be tried out to link the metro’s terminal stations that are proposed in Thripunithura and at Kakkanad [Infopark]. The most tempting is the cost factor, approximately ₹360 crore, as compared to the approximately ₹1,500 crore for a conventional metro. A team of metro officials did a study on this system, to operate which power supply can be sourced from electric lines, including those on the side of roads. A blueprint of the viaduct through Menaka has been readied and would be placed before the impending director board meeting of the KMRL,” he said.

A DPR is being prepared for this innovative MRT system in Nashik.

Kakkanad extension

Referring to the metro’s 14-km extension up to Infopark, Mr. Behera said a few technical issues were recently clarified, and that the project was awaiting the Union Cabinet’s sanction. The land acquisition to widen the corridor beneath is over, while that for 10 stations en route is awaited. Every effort will be made to rein in the size of the stations, since mammoth stations which sometimes cost ₹50 crore are very capital intensive. The emphasis will be on readying passenger amenities, including easier entry and exit from the stations. The stations could even be confined to two floors, by readying platform at the concourse level.

“A team of consultants is working in tandem with experts from IIT to develop models of small, medium and big stations which can be built in a cost-effective manner, whilst having better aesthetics. Kerala could thus lead by adopting sleeker designs for metro stations, following which they would be submitted to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for approval.”

Light metro

On light metro projects that were mooted for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode (for which KMRL is consultant), Mr. Behera said an exhaustive study ought to be done to assess the number of passengers per hour per direction. “A conventional metro would be needed if it is over 15,000 per hour, a light metro system if it is between 10,000 and 15,000 and metro neo if it is less than 10,000, as per the Centre’s Metro Rail Policy, 2017. For this, a comprehensive mobility plan of the two cities ought to be readied, backed by traffic analysis for another five years, as was suggested by the State government. This would shed light on the ground-level situation,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 6:35:35 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kmrl-moots-metro-neo-for-two-key-corridors/article65523571.ece