Alignment for Vathuruthy bridge faces opposition from Cochin Shipyard which owns land in its vicinity
Uncertainty clouds the long-overdue overbridges at Atlantis, Vaduthala, and Vathuruthy — projects which were mooted two decades ago. Among them, funds were earmarked by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) for the bridges at Atlantis and Vaduthala.
Work on Atlantis and Vaduthala overbridges has not begun, although their alignment were finalised. The Vathuruthy bridge, which is crucial in bringing about seamless connectivity from the city to West Kochi, is the most uncertain projects among the lot, with the latest alignment being opposed by Cochin Shipyard which owns land in its vicinity. The Cochin Port Trust and the Navy have approved the alignment.
Among the three bridges, which the Kochi-headquartered Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) was set to build, the one at Vaduthala is considered the most important, since it holds the key to decongesting the densely-populated northern parts of the city. Its completion is crucial for commuters to get optimal utility of the Pachalam overbridge that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) built as part of the preparatory work for the Kochi metro.
Sources in RBDCK said the land acquisition process was on for Atlantis and Vaduthala bridges, albeit in a slow pace, when the pandemic brought the process to a near-standstill. “These projects ought to have been completed in a faster manner, especially so since bills submitted by contractors for KIIFB projects are cleared faster than projects for which funds are allotted in the budget,” they added.
On the delay in finalising the newest alignment proposed for the Vathuruthy overbridge, Hibi Eden, Ernakulam MP, said it could have been finalised but for Cochin Shipyard not according permission for the structure to be built on the land that is in its possession. “A bridge at Vaduthala is most urgent,” he said.
A couple of other alignments that RBDCK had readied had to be dropped owing to safety concerns raised by the Navy, which has its airport close by.
In the meantime, Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has readied plans to build a total of 27 overbridges across Kerala. None of them is in Ernakulam district for reasons like issues associated with land acquisition. Among them, seven bridges have been prioritised in the first phase. The State and the Railways will equally share their construction cost.
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