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For SAFE DRIVING:A JCB clearing plants and weeds from the NH bypass median in Kochi. —
KOCHI: Shrubs and plants would enliven the medians and sides of the recently-upgraded Edapally-Aroor NH 47 bypass. The work to plant flowering and other plants from Vytilla to Aroor has been tendered at a cost of Rs 1.62 crore. This also covers the cost of erecting barricades at junctions and other locations where pedestrians frequently crisscross the road. The tender is awaiting approval from the National Highways Authority of India head office.
“Bougainville, oleander (‘arali') and some other shrubs have been shortlisted for the stretch. The contractor would have to ensure the upkeep of the plants and also water them for a year. A similar beautification work would be carried out on the medians and sides of the Edapally-Vytilla stretch too, for which an estimate has been sent to the NHAI head office,” said the agency's Kochi Project Director C. T. Abraham. Earth movers are currently clearing weeds from the medians.
The bypass would be beautified in compliance with the specifications for tree planting and landscaping, laid down in 2009 by the Indian Roads Congress. Thus, fruit-bearing trees and those with flowers that have pollen grains harmful to health would not be planted. Apart from bettering the look of the bypass, the shrubs on the medians would sieve the glare from headlights of vehicles coming in the opposite direction. The green belt would also absorb a fair amount of the automobile emissions, Mr. Abraham said.
Though a few trees and bougainvillea were planted on the medians between Edapally-Vytilla about eight years ago by an NGO, they were not planted scientifically.
This resulted in the canopy of many trees blocking the street lights, while some others blocked a clear view of sign boards.
A few trees and shrubs have sprouted spontaneously from the side of the medians, posing danger to passing vehicles and hampering visibility at U-turns.
The Cherian Varkey Construction Company and Rameshwar Dayal and Sons had jointly completed four-laning of the 10-km-long Vytilla-Aroor stretch of the bypass, under a Rs. 114 crore project. This followed another joint venture firm abandoning the work mid-way.
The Edapally-Vytilla bypass and service roads were resurfaced recently at a cost of Rs. 17.64 crore. There is increasing demand from motorists to build bus bays (like in the Vytilla-Aroor stretch) and also reserve lanes on the right side of the fast track on either side of medians at U-turns, in the six-km stretch. This would prevent accidents at the U-turns.
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