THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Shankumukham-domestic airport road, left dilapidated for many months due to frequent sea erosion, will be restored into normal state, said Transport Minister Antony Raju. The minister said the road will be opened to traffic within four months and a 330-metre stretch of the road will be protected using diaphragm walls.
“The road will be readied so as to ensure that the road will not be damaged anymore in these attacks in the future. The vulnerable part of the road will be strengthened with erecting strong protection walls. Now, the weather condition is also available and hence the works are progressing fast,” he told media persons. Antony also added that there is a negative campaign circulaed on social media with the use of pictures of air passengers walking on the road with luggage to reach the domestic airport. “ There are alternate ways to reach the domestic airport. There are also signages on the road to direct the passengers,” he said.
The minister was accompanied by PWD engineers and other officials. He also spoke with local fisher families whose livelihoods are constantly threatened by sea erosion. The connectivity from the airport to the city was closed to traffic with barricades. Air passengers heading for the airport had to stop near the barricades, cover the remaining distance on foot with only a narrow portion of the road remaining.
In the first few weeks of monsoon every year, the storm surge intensifies along the coastline from Shankumukham to Kovalam damaging the coastline and beach road here. The authorities often have to divert vehicles coming to the domestic terminal of the airport when the beach road near Shankumukham gets damaged due to sea erosion. local residents and taxi drivers who are aware of this situation prefer the Vallakadavu route and enter the city through NH66 bypass at Enchakkal. The PWD recently received administrative sanction to restore the stretch by constructing a diaphragm wall, which can sustain high-intensity waves, with the help of the Central Road Research Institute for Rs 4.29 crore. According to PWD officials, the work was awarded to ULCCS in August 2020.