DECCAN CHRONICLE.| SMITHA N | Nov 25, 2017
KOCHI: Stakeholders including officers of the PWD, the implementing agency, were clueless on the design of the much awaited Vytilla flyover even on Friday, one day ahead of the launch of the works scheduled for Saturday. The participating agencies find it inexplicable that the state government is not revealing the design and drawings of the flyover with them. Stakeholder agencies like City Corporation, district administration or the police authorities are unaware of the design details of the structure. “We haven’t received any details on the design and structure of the Vyttila flyover from the state government,” said Mayor Soumini Jain. D. Dhanu Raj, head of city-based think tank Centre for Public Policy Research finds it mysterious as to why details of such a big-ticket project that will dynamically change development of Kochi are kept secret.
“I have been associated with the flyover project presentations since the Mobility Hub project in 2011. Many of the earlier meetings on the plan and structure of the flyover were inconclusive. Many national and international consulting companies had drawn plans along with state-run agencies. Despite such elaborate planning and discussions with stakeholder agencies, the final plan is now fixed without any consultation,” he said.
Fate of mobility hub hinges on new flyover
A poorly planned flyover at the busiest intersection in the state, Vyttila, will affect the mobility hub and Kochi city. A regional development plan must be prepared before constructing the flyover to ensure sustainable growth of Vyttila and nearby areas, according to town planners. If the flyover is not catering to vehicles accessing Vyttila mobility hub, the facility will be under threat. More than 1,000 buses including city services and inter-district and inter-state buses access the hub everyday and thousands of commuters from various parts of the state use ot. If the flyover does not cater to them, it could result in chaos and regular traffic congestion at Vyttila junction.
According to Upendra Narayanan, transport and road safety expert, an elevated flyover that begins from southern part of the Vyttila in NH till Edappally can decongest the junction. “While vehicles in north-south direction can pass through the elevated structure, an underpass can cater to vehicles in Tripunithura–Ernakulam route. However, a separate elevated flyover structure is needed to the entry and exit points of mobility hub to ensure smooth flow of buses,” he said.
“Since the hub is located at a very wrong place, the flyover along the NH can’t cater to it. While conceiving bus terminals and hubs, the basic principle is that 50 per cent of it should be along the left side of the main road and remaining 50 per cent on the right side. This will help to avoid crossings.” K.J Sohan, former Mayor observed that the state government’s decision to construct a simple structure at Vyttila without consulting the townplanners, designers and architects will result in total chaos.
“The government could have consulted the expert town planners and designers of international agencies like CODATU and consultants of Smart City Mission who are already associating with Kochi’s development projects. It is most unfortunate that government is taking up such a short-sighted project for the busiest intersection in Kerala,” he added. Unlike Palarivattom and Edapally junctions, vehicle density is very high at Vyttila as it is the major entry point to the city for the vehicles from eastern parts of the district and other districts like Kottayam and Idukki.
Kitco plan had seamless connectivity
The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) that is pushing for a flyover designed by KITCO which ensures seamless traffic at the Vyttila junction instead of the one currently mooted by PWD, has asked PWD not to insist on the current flyover which will retain signal lights at the junction. “The KITCO proposal was there since 2012. Road signal lights and endless waiting emits lot of pollutants from vehicles. It could have been a thing of the past if KITCO proposal was implemented. Just building a bridge at the powerhouse road junction and making an underpass at the southern side of the existing railway overbridge is the plan that we back. Building a bridge at the junction like the one at Palarivattom defeats the purpose,” said G. Gopinathan, development cell convener of KSSP.
“We request the PWD not to thwart the long-term well-being of people by insisting on this proposal. KITCO is a public sector firm that is reputed for implementing projects like Vyttila Mobility Hub and Kannur airport. The PWD should realise that once their plan is implemented, the situation cannot be set right or remedied in future and the suffering will go on and on,” he said.
This news was published in Deccan Chronicle on November 25, 2017, click to read: Vytilla flyover design secret