NHAI blames district administrations for traffic chaos on Aroor-Thuravoor stretch

The current crisis occurred because of the temporary traffic diversion implemented along the existing road, according to the report submitted in the Kerala High Court.
Traffic snarl-up on the Aroor-Thuravoor stretch of NH 66
Traffic snarl-up on the Aroor-Thuravoor stretch of NH 66 File photo

KOCHI: As commuters struggle to reach their destinations on time due to traffic congestion caused by construction work on the elevated highway along the Aroor-Thuravoor stretch, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has accused the state authorities of failing to take effective measures to alleviate the problem.

Traffic snarl-up on the Aroor-Thuravoor stretch of NH 66
Kerala HC criticizes NHAI, Alappuzha collector over Aroor-Thuravoor highway traffic chaos

According to an NHAI report, obtained by TNIE, the agency has repeatedly informed and apprised the district collectors of Alappuzha and Ernakulam about the problems faced by road users and local residents due to heavy traffic on the stretch. Despite this, no effective measures have been taken to divert heavy vehicles through a route approved by authorities, it said.

The report said for the construction of an elevated highway at Kazhakkoottam in Thiruvananthapuram, traffic was diverted through an alternative route near the project vicinity. The diversion was implemented with the support of the district administration, and the project was completed successfully without causing significant inconvenience to commuters.

A similar arrangement was proposed for the Aroor-Thuravoor stretch as well. However, the district administration did not strictly enforce the proposed traffic diversion, leading to issues in the area. The current crisis occurred because of the temporary traffic diversion implemented along the existing road, which could not handle the heavy traffic load, according to the report submitted in the Kerala High Court.

‘Diversion of traffic will minimise inconvenience’

“The diversion of heavy vehicle traffic through the route as proposed until the completion of the project will minimise the inconvenience being faced by local residents and commuters. In this regard, we have issued several letters to the district administrations. On June 28, we requested district collectors - Ernakulam and Alappuzha - for strict implementation of traffic diversion,” stated the report.

According to the authority, after extensive follow-ups, permission for traffic diversion was granted by the district administrations of Alappuzha and Ernakulam last November. However, the diversion of heavy vehicles on to the proposed route was not fully implemented. Due to the lack of strict enforcement, commuters continue to use the existing Aroor-Thuravoor alignment, leading to severe traffic congestion and damage to the existing road, the report stated.

Earlier, the NHAI Kerala regional officer along with all stakeholders of the project conducted a site visit to assess the traffic issues. It was found that diverting major traffic through designated diversion routes would help minimise snarl-ups. Alappuzha MP K C Venugopal and the district collector were apprised of the issue by the regional officer during a meeting on June 22. Following this, the collector visited the site. It was decided to divert traffic on the left hand side (LHS), and that LHS carriageway be rectified with Dry Lean Concrete (DLC). But it was noted that DLC laying for around 12km is not possible within a day.

During an online meeting held on July 1, which was chaired by Minister P Prasad and attended by MLAs of Alappuzha and Aroor and the Alappuzha district collector, the issue was discussed and it was decided to divert the traffic. The contractor has been directed to restore the damaged road surface using DLC.

NHAI said this will resolve the traffic issue. Afterwards, the right hand side of the stretch also shall be rectified, in consultation with the district administration, at the earliest, stated the report.

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