KOCHI: The city had been witnessing a lot of changes since the 90s with Ernakulam district administration shifting to the highrise building at Kakkanad. Within a short span of time the Special Economic Zone, smart city and the Infopark came up giving the city a metro look. The development projects, which were kicked off around 30 years back, led to the construction of several roads, bridges and commercial building turning the city into a commercial hub. The latest achievement which has taken the city a step closer to being on par with the metropolitan cities is the commissioning of Kochi Metro.
However, the picture is not as rosy as it seems. All these achievements apart, there are many areas in which the city falls miserably short. For example the traffic junctions. Even though the Kochi Corporation had decided to upgrade the traffic junctions and included the project in the last fiscal budget, not a single paper has been moved by the former in this regard. Also, the Mayor’s request to the state Finance Minister seeking allocation of funds for the traffic junction project in the budget got overlooked. Kochi Express takes a look at some of the major junctions that are in dire need of a facelift to ease traffic movement through the area.
The construction of the flyover has begun at Vyttila Junction, but doubts still linger. Though the DPR sticks to the construction of the flyover, it fails to mention the development of the junction. Even the Mayor and the metroman suggested redesigning of the existing plan. But the government has decided to go ahead with the old plan.
Even though barriers have been placed to streamline traffic, they fail to serve their purpose during peak hours. For the past few months, motorists struggling to cross the unscientifically constructed junction have become a common sight here. “Crossing Kudanoor Junction is a very risky affair for the pedestrians. How can the elderly cross the busy road?” asked Rohith R, a resident.
Despite the junction witnessing traffic congestion even at odd hours, neither the local body nor the government have come up with a project to redesign it. Though KK road is sufficiently wide, once it enters the junction it narrows down. “Putting up a barricade and diverting the vehicles are the only steps taken by the police at present. Even though traffic congestion on SA road is due to this narrow junction, the authorities are not ready to develop the junction,” said Prathapan, an activist.
Though the Palarivattom Pipeline Junction has been widened following the construction of the flyover, space is still not sufficient. Vehicles coming from Kakkanad and Vyttilla sides still find it difficult to take the free left. “The situation here shows the bridge alone can’t ease traffic congestion. The road which leads to the junction has to be widened. If the authorities had done a proper study before implementing the project, they could have made use of the unutilised land near the roadsides to widen the roads. In the morning the traffic snarls up in the area is uncontrollable,” said a person who runs a hotel near the junction.
The private bus stand and the Kochi Metro station are situated a stone’s throw away from the Kaloor Junction. Though the narrow road was widened as a part of the construction of Kochi Metro, the facilities at the junction still remain dismal. There is no option for a free left and the junction lacks a foot overbridge. The road which goes towards Elamakkara remains a narrow one and with the autorickshaw drivers staking claim to a major portion of it, it has become narrower.