Underpass at Collectorate Junction in Kakkanad remains a distant dream

The project fails to find mention in the State Budget; Much of the acquired land in the Bharat Mata College-Irumpanam stretch is lying unused

The project fails to find mention in the State Budget; Much of the acquired land in the Bharat Mata College-Irumpanam stretch is lying unused

A proposal submitted in 2021 by the Public Works department (PWD – Roads wing) to the State government to build an underpass to decongest the bottlenecked Collectorate Junction on Seaport-Airport Road is hanging fire, despite worsening traffic hold-ups in the corridor where passengers vehicles jostle for space with goods carriers.

The plight of pedestrians, including employees and visitors to the collectorate, who wait to cross the junction has turned worse in the absence of a sound traffic arrangement at the spot where chaos prevails owing to inadequate width and burgeoning traffic.

Sources in the PWD said their hopes were dashed since the underpass project failed to find mention in the State Budget. “Even a glimmer of hope was lost since not even a token 20% of the estimated cost was earmarked in the Budget,” they added.

Vacant land

Residents’ associations and others had lamented how the junction and the stretch from Bharat Mata College to Irumpanam were precariously narrow and confined to two lanes, although much of the land that had been acquired at a width of 30 meters over two decades ago was lying unused. , despite phenomenal increase in traffic.

The PWD (Roads wing) had taken over Seaport-Airport Road from the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) in 2020. The agency had widened a limited stretch of the road from HMT Junction to Bharat Mata College, while the width of The tarred carriageway from Chitrapuzha bridge to Irumpanam is just seven meters, leaving little room for safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles.

Hazardous cargo

“With the government not allotting funds to widen the road into four lanes and develop the Collectorate Junction, danger lurks in the form of a few thousand tanker lorries that transport hazardous cargo from the Kochi Refinery and other big industrial units through the corridor. A major accident could trigger the need to evacuate people, which will be next to impossible owing to the narrow road,” said a senior official employed in one of the units.

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