THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Soon, city dwellers will be able to use one of the skywalks conceived by civic authorities to ensure free movement of pedestrians, seamless travel and quick dispersal of commuters in busy junctions. The skywalk in front of St Mary’s HSS will become operational from the first week of February.
The work carried out by Sun Infrastructure Private Ltd on PPP mode (public-private partnership) in association with the corporation, is nearing completion. “Presently, tile work on the footpath and gangway is ongoing. Laying of sheets and and other electrical work also remain to be completed,” said Nandu Jayakumar, area manager of Sun Infrastructure Private Ltd.
However, the corporation’s plan to construct a skywalk in the East Fort area has hit a roadblock with Mayor K Sreekumar blaming the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) for delaying the project. “Sun Infrastructure had earlier agreed to construct the skywalk on a sponsorship basis. But, due to opposition from KRFB, they have backed out of the project,” he said.
KRFB has a different version. “We have approved the request for a foot overbridge from the corporation. We had also sent a draft MoU on January 12. One of the conditions in the agreement was that no advertisement would be allowed on the bridge without permission from KRFB. They can ask for any corrections that need to made in the agreement,” said M N Jeevaraj, CEO, KRBF.
Now the corporation plans to re-tender the work -- it has set aside Rs 50 lakh for this project. If all goes well, the public will be able to use the two skywalks, one from Gandhi Park to Attakulangara and the second from the Beemapally stand to the opposite side, after March 2020.
According to Town Planning Standing Committee chairman Palayam Rajan, the project was taken up by the corporation to reduce the troubles faced by the pedestrians near the area. Unlike the skywalk at St Mary’s, the East Fort skywalk will have an elevator.However, police officers are apprehensive about the skywalk. “Constructing a flyover would be more beneficial to the public as it would significantly reduce heavy traffic,’’ said a Fort police officer. He also pointed out that about 12 to 15 traffic police officers are stationed in the area to ensure pedestrian safety.
Another skywalk planned in Thampanoor by the corporation is still in limbo. “The proposal to construct it has been included in the Smart City project. The skywalk will enable access to all the main city centres located near the area,” said Rajan.