KOCHI: Former Delhi Metro managing director E Sreedharan has favoured the construction of an undersea tunnel for seamless connectivity between Fort Kochi and Vypeen. The ‘Metroman’endorsed the tunnel in response to Public Works Minister P A Mohamed Riyas’ decision on Tuesday to sanction a feasibility study for seamless connectivity between the two densely populated islands as part of the state’s coastal highway project.
Riyas sanctioned studies on the feasibility of both an undersea tunnel and an elevated highway. Sreedharan told TNIE that the elevated highway would require construction at a height that enables ships to pass easily under the bridge.“That will make the project costlier than an undersea tunnel. Other parameters too need to be considered, like if there is an enemy attack in the future, the first target would be this bridge. Secondly, it will require more land acquisition compared to the undersea tunnel,” Sreedharan said.
He also said that though Kochi doesn’t witness high wind, it is risky to construct an elevated highway as it will oscillate, restricting the traffic movement and raising safety concerns. “A high bridge is definitely not a suitable option,” he added.
Jose Paul — former acting chairman of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai, and former chairman of Mormugao Port Trust — had proposed an undersea tunnel in 2015, following the Fort Kochi boat accident that claimed the lives of 11 passengers.
“First, by road, it now takes up to 60 minutes to reach Fort Kochi from Vypeen. A tunnel can reduce it significantly. Secondly, the proposed tunnel will be two-km long and built at a depth of 35 metres from the seabed which requires less land acquisition for the approach road,” he added. Larsen & Toubro, which is preparing a DPR for the coastal highway, has been tasked with carrying out a feasibility study of the two proposals.