For several months now, motorists in Kochi have been bearing the brunt of traffic congestion caused due to crater-sized potholes in the city. On Friday, the unbearable bottleneck came to a head when the motorists were stuck in traffic since morning hours, especially in parts of Kundanoor and Vytilla Junction.
These areas have already have been experiencing congestion due to roads pocked with potholes and the on-going construction work of the flyovers at Vytilla and Kundanoor. But Fridayâ€™s lockdown is reported to be triggered by the repair works of the roads, which was started out of the blue without any alternative arrangement. And this was the knee-jerk reaction to the show-cause notice issued by the Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas, on Friday morning, to officials concerned for not having started the repair works of pothole-ridden roads in the city, despite giving an ultimatum.
On Wednesday, the Collector had given an ultimatum to officials of Public Works Department, Greater Cochin Development Corporation, National Highways division, Kochi Corporation, Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd., Cochin Refineries Ltd and National Highways Authority of India, to complete the maintenance work of all roads within two weeks. On Friday morning, the Collector issued a show-cause notice to the officials concerned who havenâ€™t started the repair work at Kaloor-Kadavanthra, Thevara ferry road, Subash Chandra Bose road, Ponnurunni-Chalikavattom and Thammanam-Pullepady road.
The unannounced maintenance work created traffic gridlock in the city, which brought Kochi almost to a standstill. According to reports, the bottleneck, which started in the morning, was first experienced from Vytilla to Aroor. It then spread to Vytilla junction, Kundalloor junction, Palarivattom flyover and then bypass areas as well.
The district administration has identified about 45 roads in the city that are in bad condition and require urgent maintenance work.
They are: Kaloor-Palarivattom road (Kaloor track), Kaloor- Palarivattomm road (Aluva track), Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road, Thammanam road, Palarivattom Bypass junction road, Kakkanad-Palarivattom road, Edapally-Cheranallur road, Edapally-Kalamassery road, Vytilla-Kundanoor road,Vytilla-Ponnurunni road, Kattakara road, Kathrikadavu-Ponnurunni road, Pullepady road, Kaloor-Pottakuzhi road, Aroor-Vytilla road, Maradu-Kundanoor road, Maradu-Petta road, Chambakkara-Petta road, KRL road, Seaport-airport road, Karingachira-Thiruvankulam road, Karingachira-Chottanikkara road, Mini Bypass road, Vaikom-Poothotta road, Ernakulam-Vypin road, Bolgatty-Ernakulam road, Pandit Karuppan road, Thevara-Venduruthy road, Valanjambalam-Ravipuram road, KSRTC-Kathrikadavu road, GCDA-Gandhinagar road, KK road-Kumaranasan junction, Old Thevara-Foreshore road and Edakochi-Pampayimoola road.
A majority of these roads are the major arterial roads that connect National Highways with the city roads and are important in connecting major suburban areas such as Tripunithura, Thrikkakara, Aroor and regions in West Kochi like Edakochi, among others.
Reacting to the sad state of affairs affecting the motorists, the Kerala High Court on Thursday had initiated suo motu proceedings. Kochi Corporation has also been added as a party in the case.
Many have even started questioning the need to pay fees at toll plazas considering the condition of the roads. The District Construction Workers Congress (which is part of Indian National Trade Union Congress) carried out a march to Kumbalam toll plaza on Friday evening, demanding that the toll collection should be stopped till the construction of Vytilla and Kundanoor flyovers are completed and transportation gets back to normal.