A container lorry passing through the newly-opened bridge connecting the container road and Vallarpadam container terminal in Kochi on Wednesday.
The new bridge constructed parallel to the second Goshree Bridge, connecting Bolgatty and Vallarpadam, is likely to be opened for traffic within three months. Taking a significant step towards that end, a month-long trial run began the other day, with only container carriers permitted to ply over the bridge.
Soma Enterprises Limited, the company responsible for the construction of the bridge, presumes that the approach roads would settle down suitably with the passage of heavy vehicles.
“The approach roads on the sides of the bridge have to settle down in due course with heavy vehicles passing over them. We expect that a trial run for one month will be enough for the soil to settle down. What remains to be completed is the laying of bitumin along a 300-metre stretch on the Vypeen side, which can be completed very fast once the road settles in,” said Soma Enterprises official. The bridge was constructed as part of the four-lane highway connecting the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) with Kalamassery.
Once the bridge is opened for traffic, the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd can start work on the elevation and extension of the existing Goshree Bridge to convert it into a rail overbridge.
At present, there is a level cross at the end of the bridge at Vallarpadam, to enable the movement of trains carrying containers to the ICTT. Traffic on the existing bridge has to be diverted to the new bridge to resume the extension work. The RVNL authorities said that they would invite tenders for extending the old bridge over the railway line. “We have already invited tenders and the work will be awarded soon, after we get a clearance from Soma Enterprises that traffic can be diverted to the new bridge,” said RVNL deputy general manager (projects) G Kesavachandran.
The two-lane stretch of the road was commissioned considering the emergency situation prevailing at the time of ICTT’s commissioning in February 2011.
The 17.2-km-long road (NH 47-C), starting from Kalamassery connects the ICTT with NH-17 and NH-47. Though the bridge is ready, construction of two lanes of the highway would be completed only by May 2014, said a top official of Soma Enterprises. The two-lane road, which is already open for traffic, has to be elevated a little more, the official said.