Minister promises action as Vyttila chaos worsens

Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran has promised to speed-track the restoration of the severely-potholed Vyttila Junction, service roads, and the Vyttila railway bridge underpass, even as the Public Works Department (NH Wing) is yet to complete the repair work and paving of damaged areas with concrete tiles despite repeated expiry of deadlines.

The situation went from bad to worse on Friday, as potholes became huge, slowing down traffic. Serpentine queues of vehicles were seen in all directions.

Vehicles from Ponnurunni and SA Road were stuck for around two hours due to the horrendous state of the narrow underpass — the sole link from the city to the mobility hub and Thripunithura.

“I will direct senior engineers of the department [PWD] to relay the potholed stretches at the earliest to ensure smooth and safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians,” the Minister told
The Hindu
.

A committee headed by PWD Principal Secretary Kamala Vardhana Rao had been constituted to oversee the flyover work at Vyttila and Kundannur and to ensure the smooth passage of road users, Mr. Sudhakaran said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which owns the NH bypass, service roads, and the underpass, too must do its part in streamlining traffic, since the State government is funding Vyttila and Kundannur flyovers, he added.

However, NHAI officials said the two junctions and service roads had been handed over to the PWD a year ago for constructing the flyovers. “The onus is now on the PWD to see that the roads are in good condition and to ensure smooth traffic flow,” they added.

In the meantime, PWD Principal Secretary Kamala Vardhana Rao, who inspected Vyttila a month ago and instructed officials to lay tiles over an area totalling 2,000 square metres within a week, said he had done his level best to speed up work. “Funds too are not a problem,” he added.

Policemen helpless

Traffic police personnel, who were present in more numbers at Ponnurunni and other areas on Friday, were helpless, as motorists took time to negotiate huge potholes and slushy roads.

“Two huge holes in the underpass caused all mayhem on Friday. The flyover contractor has been asked to fill them with stones and aggregate. The PWD should have used three to four days earlier this month, when it did not rain, to restore roads and pave concrete tiles,” said Abdul Salam, Assistant Commissioner, City Traffic Police (East).

Concrete tiles

A senior PWD engineer associated with the Vyttila flyover work said steps would be taken to pave concrete tiles in the underpass and service roads on the Aroor side, which will be raised by Sunday, to prevent waterlogging and formation of potholes.

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