KOCHI: The overcast sky and the steady drizzle had already set the tenor for a sluggish day that turned even worse when I reached the Kaloor-Kathrikadavu bridge at around 10 am on my way to Vyttila. A long line of cars, buses and two-wheelers greeted me when I reached the stretch of the Kaloor-Kathrikadavu Road in front of the Axis Bank.
As the vehicles moved at a snail’s pace with not even an inch of space to spare on the road, motorists could be seen making gestures that highlighted rising frustration. “I have been stuck here for past 15 minutes and I don’t think will be able to reach the base of the bridge for another 15 minutes,” said Rohit who was on his way to the railway station in an autorickshaw.
After around five minutes, the driver of Rohit’s autorickshaw was able to find an opening and move ahead. But I remained stuck because I couldn’t afford to damage my car. The traffic moved en-masse after every few seconds. Finally, after around 15 minutes I reached the point where vehicles from Thammanam and Kaloor converged. Yet again I had to let my car’s engine idle awaiting the lone traffic policeman’s nod signalling my turn to approach the bridge.
However, I didn’t know that I was in for a bumpy surprise as I reached the bridge. It was a good thing that I noticed the huge pothole that had developed at the start of the bridge. Finally, I managed to navigate the pothole successfully and get on the bridge. ‘Phew!’ Around 35 minutes to traverse a stretch that actually should only need 10?
A perennial pain
According to Ganesh who has a shop near the bridge, the problem is a perennial one. “The traffic bottleneck is at its zenith from around 9 am to 12 pm. It is the office and school hour, so the number of vehicles increases dramatically,” he said. The situation repeats again after 3 pm.
“Matters become worse when it rains since even those who otherwise use two-wheelers take their cars. So the number of four-wheelers increases and hence, the block,” he said. It should also be noted the authorities concerned have done nothing to repair the pothole, he added.
According to the traffic cop deployed at the spot, they had tried to fill the hole. “But the soil gets washed away and the rock dust too gets displaced,” said the cop. So it’s back to square one!
The traffic warden at Thammanam Junction said during school days the junction turns into a huge mess. “A lone policeman can’t manage the situation,” he said. The potholes on the roads make the matter even worse, he added. “Non-adherence to traffic rules is another factor that leads to traffic snarls. Either people don’t know about them or they feign ignorance,” he said.