Kochi corporation keen to build more smart roads

Technical help to be sought from CSML to upgrade thoroughfares

The Kochi Corporation is keen to convert arterial roads into smart roads with technical help from Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML). The project involves upgrading their quality and laying dedicated ducts to channel utility lines, Mayor M. Anilkumar said.

“Smart roads is a good concept, as seen in [designed] roads being developed by CSML with amenities like scientifically-laid drains, footpaths, and ducts which can carry utility pipelines and cables. Double ducts are possible on wide roads like M.G. Road, with one duct carrying power cables and the other carrying utility lines,” he added.

Arterial corridors like M.G. Road, S.A. Road and Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road can thus be upgraded to smart roads. Apart from improving the quality of the carriageway and allied infra, building dedicated ducts parallel to them will once and for all end the menace posed by dangerously-dangling overhead cables that are a threat to road users. The system will also do away with the need to dig up roads to lay utility lines or repair them.

Erecting ‘smart poles’ is yet another way to address problems posed by dangling cables on narrow roads. Sound road infra and an efficient public transport system can usher in a qualitative change in the way people commute in Kochi, Mr. Anilkumar observed.

CSML has its constraints in sourcing funds to upgrade all arterial roads to smart roads, since its ambit is restricted to a few corporation divisions. Still, projects can be implemented if funds of the corporation, Plan funds and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) funds are put together, he said.

The sole hiccup in transforming roads into smart roads is that water pipelines are laid afresh on many arterial roads under AMRUT and other schemes. Redirecting them to ducts will be a cumbersome and time-consuming, official sources said.

Laying of water pipelines under the AMRUT project is under way on Thammanam-Pullepady Road, which is slated to be widened into a 22-metre road and extended to M.G. Road and the NH Bypass on either end.

Banerjee Road

CSML has already included the arterial Banerjee Road in the list of five key roads to be developed as smart roads. Work on the stretch will be taken up shortly, while upgradation of Abraham Madamakkal Road, Shanmugham Road, Park Avenue Road, and DH Road are in their final stage. All these roads will thus become smart roads, latest by mid-May, said Jafar Malik, Chief Executive Officer, CSML.

“We can lend technical help to the Kochi Corporation but cannot take up upgradation of more roads, since many of them are beyond our ambit, and funds have not been earmarked,” Mr Malik added.

Bund Road development

In a fresh development, it was decided on Saturday that the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), which owns the Chilavannoor Bund Road, and the Kochi Corporation will work together to hasten land acquisition and clear bottlenecks hampering the development of the key corridor that runs parallel to S.A. Road. “We will demand that the road be included in the list of road corridors which were mentioned in the recent State budget. On our part, we have agreed to lay utility duct along the GCDA-owned Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road,” Mr. Anilkumar said.

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