THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Motorists and daily commuters are at the receiving end as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Kerala Water Authority (KWA) have been passing the buck on repairing the damaged sewerage pipeline under the reinforced earth wall between Enchakkal and Kumarichantha on NH66 bypass.
For the past two weeks, only one-way traffic has been allowed and traffic on the other side from Muttathara to Enchakkal has been blocked by NHAI. The vehicles from Muttathara side have to use the service road. This has led to heavy traffic congestion near Enchakkal during peak hours.
Enchakkal junction has already been choked due to lack of overpass or underpass and the new traffic diversion has resulted in a nightmare for motorists. Currently, sewer water comes out from the wall which may further weaken the structure.
“It is very inconvenient for daily commuters and motorists who use the stretch to reach the city from Kovalam and other southern towns and villages. We have been getting stuck in traffic for a long time in the last one week. It is a loss of time and fuel. We reach Muttathara after giving the toll at Thiruvallam. So, at least the authorities should act on it positively,” said Renjith Chandran, a techie.
Earlier, residents of Muttathara had demanded an overpass supported by pillars instead of the land-filled wall. If there were pillars, this problem could have been avoided and people living on either side of the road would not have felt being blocked.
According to NHAI, the two-way traffic was stopped as the reinforced earth wall would collapse otherwise. “We have approached KWA to repair the damage immediately. They have submitted an estimate of `4 crore for the work and asked NHAI to re-lay the pipes. At the time of overpass construction, KWA did not inform us about the pipeline laid beneath. We have already completed `25 crore worth of works for KWA. It is not NHAI’s fault,” said P Pradeep, project director, NHAI. “However, we have discussed with the police on managing traffic to ensure there are no difficulties for motorists and make them use the road towards Enchakkal instead of the service road,” said Pradeep.
Meanwhile, a senior executive KWA engineer told TNIE that relaying of pipes is the responsibility of NHAI. “At the time of utility shifting before the construction of Muttathara overpass, the pipeline, which was owned by KWA, were not rerouted. The bridge was built over it. So, the 90cm-diameter pipeline burst eventually,” the engineer said.