Two acres to be acquired to widen bottlenecked bellmouths on all four sides
With the six-lane flyover at Vyttila Junction on the NH Bypass showing little impact on traffic snarls beneath the structure, a site inspection followed by a brainstorming session was held on Thursday, attended by people’s representatives, officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), traffic police, and the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD).
They suggested short- and long-term plans to decongest the junction, including acquisition of around two acres to widen the bottlenecked bellmouths on all four sides and the ones that lead to side roads like Ponnurunni road that take off from the junction.
As a short-term solution, the police reiterated their demand to trim the extent of the roundabout and medians constructed by the PWD (NH Wing) beneath the flyover, to accommodate more vehicles and smoothen traffic flow in the east-west direction. According to them, it will also lessen the queue of vehicles from Palarivattom awaiting their turn to cross over to SA Road and Thripunithura / Vyttila Mobility Hub.
The NHAI team headed by its Kochi Project Director J. Balachandran sought written suggestions from different quarters so that they could be taken up with its consultant, to arrive at long-term solutions to traffic hold-ups at the junction, which is used by over one lakh passenger car units daily. “Being a junction on a busy national highway, any development needs futuristic planning. A well-designed junction will also prevent accidents,” Mr Balachandran said.
The PWD and the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) have not returned possession of Kundannoor, Vyttila and Palarivattom junctions to the NHAI, after they constructed flyovers, it is learnt.
Around two acres may have to be acquired to redesign the junction so that there is seamless traffic in all directions, said Hibi Eden, MP, and Mayor M. Anilkumar. They were among those who did the site visit and attended the subsequent meeting.
Short-term solutions will be readied shortly in tandem with suggestions of Kochi Corporation councillors. They include modification of signals and shifting of bus stops, tasks which will be entrusted to Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML), Mr. Anilkumar said.
Mr. Eden said he would give a letter with a list of suggestions to the NHAI. “The PWD and the NHAI will together take a call on lessening the extent of the roundabout and medians that project into the carriageway at the junction. The watch tower of the traffic police might have to be relocated westward towards SA Road,” he added.
District Police Chief (Kochi City) C.H. Nagaraju presented a detailed list of short- and long-term measures needed to decongest the junction. Another site inspection including officials of the Revenue Department and the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) will be conducted before readying a project report.
Following this, Minister of Public Works P.A. Mohamed Riyas and Minister for Industries P. Rajeeve will jointly spearhead the land acquisition drive.
Those who attended Thursday’s inspection included P.T. Thomas, MLA.
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