THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the development of NH 66 bypass starting from Kazhakoottam to Mukkola is almost completed, the development of the NH stretch that lies parallel to the bypass starting from Kazhakoottam to Kesavadasapuram remains a non-starter. Now, travelling on this two-lane stretch is a nightmare for motorists, especially at Sreekaryam and Ulloor junction, during peak hours.
The reason for the development deadlock is the delay in taking a decision on implementing the light metro proposal. As per the initial proposal, the metro rail line will start from Technocity near Pallipuram and end at Karamana through this stretch. However, the state government has neither taken any initiative to proceed with the light metro project nor taken any decision on widening the NH stretch. In 2017, the state government had given administrative sanction to widen the congested Kazhakoottam-Kesavadasapuram stretch to accommodate the light metro pillars and construct flyovers at Sreekaryam and Ulloor. The revenue department has began land acquisition proceedings for three flyovers at Sreekaryam, Ulloor and Pattom and 19 light metro stations in the first phase. However, land acquisition for these is moving at a snail’s pace.
Commuters prefer this stretch over the bypass as it provides easy access to places such as the Medical College Hospital, Pattom, Palayam and Kowdiar. However, now they are forced to use the bypass due to heavy traffic snarl-ups at Pongumoodu, Ulloor and Sreekaryam. “It is high time the stretch was widened to four or six lanes to ease traffic congestion,” said Ajithkumar, a resident of Kariyavattom.
According to the Federation of Residents’ Association Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT), the stretch should be made as the ‘Capital City Corridor’. “Metro and other transportation schemes are good for the public. But what we need is development at the fundamental level. The NH bypass is being widened after a long wait. But the condition of the road from Kazhakoottam to Kesavadasapuram is pathetic,” said M S Venugopal, chairman, FRAT.
When T’Puram Express contacted Sajeev S, superintendent engineer, PWD (NH), he said that land acquisition was under way. He also added that the land acquisition and construction of flyovers are being carried out by Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (KRTL), a special purpose vehicle formed by the state government to implement light metro in the capital. “At present, PWD has hardly any role in the development of this stretch. Ever since the proposal of the light metro, the state government has entrusted KRTL as the nodal agency with the development of the road,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anand Elamon, chief general manager, KRTL, said they are currently focusing only on the development of proposed flyovers at Sreekaryam, Ulloor and Pattom as part of the light metro project.
“The land acquisition in Sreekaryam has entered the final phase and the construction of the flyover is expected to begin this year itself. For the last two years, we have been carrying out land acquisition as it is a difficult process. At Ulloor and Pattom, land acquisition is still on. We can assure that this road will be widened before the implementation of the light metro project and we have just concluded the survey at Technopark to extend the rail to the IT park as well,” he said