The opening of the new bridge constructed parallel to the second Goshree Bridge, connecting Bolgatty and Vallarpadam, is likely to be delayed further with the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) planning to extend its length.
According to officials of Soma Construction, the company entrusted with the work, the NHAI has decided to introduce a slight change in the structure of the bridge by extending its length.
“We have been told that there would be an extension, but we are yet to receive the final design which is expected to be delivered to us in December,” said Soma officials.
The authorities had plans to open the bridge for traffic by September 2012. Taking a significant step towards that end, a month-long trial run was flagged off, with only container carriers permitted to ply over it.
The bridge was constructed as part of the four-lane highway connecting the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) to 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 and 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 17.2-km-long road (NH 47 C), starting from Kalamassery connects the ICTT to NH 17 and NH 47. Though the bridge is ready, teh construction of two lanes of the highway will be completed only by May 2014, sources said. The two-lane road, which has been opened for traffic, has to be elevated a little more, the official said. It was commissioned considering the emergency situation prevailing at the time of ICTT’s commissioning in February 2011.
“Though the delay in opening the bridge will not affect the operations at the ICTT directly, the residents of Vallarpadam and people of Vypeen will have to bear the brunt due to the frequent closure of the railway gate caused by the increased number train services to ICTT. It would be good for the islanders, if the construction is completed as early as possible,” said officials of DP World Cochin which operates the ICTT.