Skywalk project gets entangled in red-tapism

Consultants claim delay in getting nod to carry out the drone survey has hit work

Delay in getting the nod to carry out the drone survey has hit the work to finalise the alignment and preparation of the detailed project report for the six-metre-wide skywalk proposed in the State capital.

Aimed at the hassle-free movement of the pedestrians, the skywalk, to come up in pillars, is to connect the Secretariat, Secretariat Annexe, KSRTC’s bus terminal, Central Railway Station at Thampanoor, entrance of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple at East Fort, and end at the Chala market. Three routes are being considered, including through Press Road and Housing Board Junction.

Arkitechno Consultants (India) Private Limited and Design Forum International, which won the bid floated by the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) for the Public Works Department (PWD), is knocking at the doors of the authorities since mid-September seeking permission to carry out a drone survey from Statue Junction to East Fort.

The key stretches of the skywalk are within the 500-metre radius of the Secretariat complex and the 1000-metre radius of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, which are no-flying zones due to security concerns.

Taking into account these aspects, the consultants have sought permission to carry out the drone Lidar Survey on top of the MG Road, Power House Road, and RMS Junction Road, avoiding directly flying over the heritage sites.

However, sources in the consultancy firms say the approvals sought for the drone survey are pending and it is a challenge to work with the limited data available. The delay is affecting the road map prepared for submitting the DPR by December.

The consultants have already carried out the topographic survey of the terrain and stretches of land along which the skywalk is proposed with the help of a Total Station. Since the entire stretch falls within the city limits, the point cloud of the data obtained is very limited. Using this data to plot and visualise the 3D terrain model is a challenge, they say.

Moreover, there are buildings all along the MG Road and other stretches that are very closely spaced and some buildings even have protruding structures. Collection, plotting and visualisng this kind of 3D data will be a key to better plan, minimise and execute this project with minimal conflict and hindrances caused to the other projects and structures.

The 3D model of the entire stretch will also give an opportunity to minimise the impact on the trees and environment along the proposed stretches and could also aid various other studies to be done as a part of the DPR, it was pointed out.

The 3D model of the surrounding, when accompanied with the 3D rendered model of the skywalk itself, will be the key in identifying the best option in all respects that will boost the overall mobility plan of the pedestrians in the central business district.

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