KOCHI:The very face of Kochi is likely to undergo a drastic change in the coming years since Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is planning an array of urban transport projects. Helping the agency will be the French NGO Codatu, which has come up with a comprehensive report titled ‘Medium Capacity modes of transport for Kochi Integrated Public Transport network.’ Codatu has already submitted its report for the junction development and will also help KMRL in preparing the DPR for the second phase development of Vyttila Mobility Hub. In the pilot phase, Edappally junction will be developed as an ideal junction. It will give special focus on pedestrian friendly environment.
Edappally Junction Development
The proposal mooted by Codatu mainly aims at converting Edappally into a place which will have good signaling system, pedestrian friendly walkway and parking facilities for alternate modes of transport. About 300 metres on each side of the National Highway will be developed with a proper ramp for pedestrians. Under the via duct, a multimodal parking facility for two wheelers and rickshaws will also be built. “The major aim of our study is to devise a plan to retain the existing users while prompting private vehicle users to shift to public transport system,” said Marion Hoyez, Cooperation Project Manager Codatu - India.
“Hence, along with junction development, we will suggest plans to reorganise the existing public transport services. Of course, feeder services will be launched so as to ensure last mile connectivity. Along with that, priority will be given to re-arrange existing buses in tune with the Metro Rail service,” she added.
Codatu has also submitted a proposal to launch trams in three corridors. The three routes identified are Goshree-Fort Kochi, from NH-Bypass (Kundannoor- Cheranalloor) and the east-west corridor connecting Thoppumpady-Thevara-Kaloor Kadavanthra Road-Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
“On other modes of transport, Tram is one option. It is ideal for smaller ways and there is no need to construct pillars. As Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are heritage conservation zones, it will not be easy to construct tracks along its narrow streets. That is why we have proposed it up to Thoppumpady,” added Marion.
Water metro GC by March end
The General Consultant of the Rs 740 crore Water Metro project will be appointed by the end of this month. The technical evaluation of the three consortium, which had been short listed, is over and according to KMRL officials, the Board of KfW, which is providing external funds for the project, will give its nod by Wednesday. “Once the KfW’s evaluation is completed, the financial bid will be opened and the right bidder will be awarded the tender,” added the KMRL official. The consortium of agencies which have been shortlisted include AECOM Consortium, Egis Consortium and Inros Lackner Se Consortium. The General Consultant will be entrusted with the project management, planning and construction, supervision for finalisation of routes, study on the type of boats to be purchased and construction of new boat jetties. Once the project is implemented, 78 modernised air conditioned vessels will ply through the 16 routes in Kochi backwaters. A total of 38 boat jetties in these routes will also be renovated. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 and the first set of boats are likely to be bought by the end of 2018.
The second phase of Vyttila Mobility Hub will be developed on the basis of the DPR which will incorporate the recommendations made by Codatu. “We are looking into developing more pedestrian friendly amenities at Vyttila Hub. A new building will come up at the centre, which will also have adequate parking facilities and office space for rent. The capacity of the Hub, including bus bays will be doubled. A new boat jetty will be constructed instead of the existing one. A walkway connecting the road from Tripunithura side with the hub will also be constructed. The entire work will be carried out by adhering to the green protocol,” added Marion.