Yet another flyover in Kochi, this time the one located at Vallarpadam in front of the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) has been closed for a month following cracks developing near it. The flyover was constructed just two years ago along the Goshree Road leading to Vypeen, by the Cochin Port Trust.
The crack was reported in the area where the flyover and the approach road joins. According to reports, the crack was reported initially by bus drivers on Tuesday. Following inspection by officials, the flyover was finally closed temporarily for vehicles on Wednesday.
The closure of Palarivattom flyover in Kochi had already created a furore among people. Experts pointed out that there were major flaws in the construction of the flyover. A vigilance probe is on to find how the Rs 48 crore flyover developed cracks within just two years.
In the back drop of the Palarivattom issue, the closure of Vallarpadam flyover is being looked at seriously as this could very well mean a more serious rot in the system. Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas inspected the site along with other officials on Wednesday.
The flyover was mainly constructed to de-congest traffic as a lot of container trucks pass this area to and from the ICTT. The construction of the structure was completed in 2017 and it was handed over to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Meanwhile, officials of Cochin Port Trust, said that the main structure of flyover was intact and that âsinking has been observed in the approach road portion on the eastern side of the flyover.â Cochin Port Trust officials also said that a detailed probe will be conducted on the issue with the help of experts from IIT Madras.
NHAI officials also said that cracks developed in the joint near the approach road and the problem was not related to structural design of the flyover.
âAs the structure is still under liability period, the issue should be sorted by the contractor. Work has not started for now, as a few tests require to be done before starting repair works,â said an official at the Cochin Port Trust.
The closure of flyover is expected to increase the traffic along the Goshree Road stretch, the arterial road that connects Vypeen Island to Kochi city.
âThough traffic is going to get affected slightly, it will not be a hindrance to the movement of container trucks to and from ICTT. We were commuting through the area even before flyover came. In fact, the flyover only congested the approach roads along its side,â Charles Geroge, convener of Container (trucks) Monitoring Committee told TNM.
Officials blame soil consistency for the fault
Problems in roads near the Vallarpadam flyover are common. ICTT road (National Highway 966A) which connects the International Container Transhipment Terminal to the Salem-Kochi Highway (NH544), also faces similar issues. Parts of this stretch seems to be uneven.
Both NHAI officials and Cochin Port Trust officials, cite the soil condition in the area as one of the main reasons behind the respective issues.
âIt is true that most of these places were marshy areas. But authorities undertook the project despite knowing this, so they are supposed to use appropriate technology to counter the problem,â said Charles Geroge.
Meanwhile sources in NHAI, which constructed the road, told TNM that the issue was still being probed by an expert panel from Central Road Research Institute. âWe are waiting for their study report, since it is a detailed study it is taking some time,â the official said.