THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One of the three proposed underpasses near the southern end of the Kazhakootam elevated highway has been dropped by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to avoid the demolition of the approach road to the elevated highway.
The proposed underpass at Attinkuzhy was dropped following a meeting between the NHAI and the state government representatives. However, the other two underpass projects -- in front of Technopark Phase III and at Mukkolakkal -- will be constructed as planned and the work is likely to begin in April.
According to the NHAI, the e-tender for the projects will be invited within 10 days. Earlier, the e-tender floated for three underpasses and failed to attract bidders. Hence, the NHAI revised the tender proceedings for the two underpasses. Similarly, the NHAI will float an e-tender for the proposed flyover at Enchakkal.
“Since the elevated highway has been opened to the public recently, the demolition of a part of it for the purpose of constructing an underpass is impractical. It will also cause inconvenience to commuters. So, it has been decided to construct only two underpasses. The construction of the underpasses is likely to begin in April, as the tender proceedings would be completed by March. The existing NH Road will be elevated in front of Technopark Phase III and at Mukkolakkal to construct underpasses to ensure smooth connectivity to the approach road of the elevated highway,” said NHAI Project Director P Pradeep.
The NHAI also considers whether traffic on the elevated highway should be diverted once the underpass construction begins. The first e-tender for the underpasses was floated in early December. The contractors will be selected on the basis of the best design and lowest bid.
The tender for the proposed flyover at Enchakkal Junction will be invited within 10 days and construction could begin by April. An NHAI source said that shifting utilities like electric posts on either side are the only main work to be completed before starting the construction. The NHAI headquarters in New Delhi has also approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR).
According to the DPR, the four-lane flyover will have nine spans, each of which will have a gap of 25 metres. The flyover begins at the section where the Chackai flyover ends and will end where the Muttathara overpass starts on the NH-66 bypass. With the area experiencing heavy traffic congestion, a flyover at Enchakkal Junction has been a long-standing demand.
The work on the Rs 200 crore project is envisaged to facilitate smooth entry of vehicles from Kovalam, Shankhumukham, and Vizhinjam to the city, besides easing congestion at the junction. Located on the busy Kazhakootam-Mukkola NH stretch, the junction is a converging point for the roads from East Fort, Vallakadavu, Attakulangara, and Pettah-Enchakkal. Earlier, the NHAI had proposed an underpass there, but the plan was scrapped after opposition from traders.