The inland navigation department and Kerala waterways infrastructure limited are proposing to build new bridges, boat jetties, and walkways in order to redevelop the waterways between Kovalam and Akkulam. The project report estimates that the cost of the project will be around Rs. 280 crore.

The inland navigation department and Kerala waterways infrastructure limited (KWIL) have proposed construction of new bridges, boat jetties for tourism purpose, and walkways as part of the redevelopment of waterways between Kovalam and Akkulam. A detailed project report (DPR) estimated at a cost around Rs 280 crore has been submitted to KIIFB for approval. The officials associated with the project said that a new concrete bridge has also been proposed to establish connectivity to Edayar Island.

In addition to this, new bridges have been proposed instead of the existing SM lock and Ponnara bridges. However, the authorities need to get sanction from the airport authorities to reconstruct the Ponnara bridge. All the bridges are proposed to be rebuilt to ensure better vehicular access and enhance the connectivity.

Four tourism boat jetties have been proposed at Kovalam, Thiruvallam, Chackai and Vallakadavu. The redevelopment of waterways lays special emphasis on promoting tourism. Bridges and boat jetties are being proposed with a view to enhance the tourism potential. A walkway will also come up on either side of the Parvathy Puthanar along this stretch.

The KIIFB has already allotted an amount of Rs 183 crore for the development of the canal over a distance of 16 kilometres between Kovalam and Akkulam. The construction of bridges is already progressing at Karikkakam, Puthenpalam and Panathura. Projects to the tune of Rs 8.4 crore are now being assumed to develop the canal from Akkulam to Kadinamkulam.

Work on another bridge – St. Andrews bridge – across the water body at Pallithura has already begun, the officials said. According to the project officials, the stretch from Kadinamkulam to Onnampalam is ready. The tunnels at Varkala have also been cleared for transportation. The St. Andrews bridge was constructed almost 50 years ago and it is being reconstructed and the development of the adjacent road is also being planned as part of the waterways development scheme. Land measuring 5.65 acres will be acquired for this purpose.

The Akkulam-Kollam canal stretch is one among the two reaches selected in the pilot phase for the preparation of a concept plan as part of the proposed transit oriented development (TOD) in the canal corridor. The Kerala waterways infrastructure limited has earlier forwarded a request seeking in principle sanction to prepare concept plans for each stretch of the canal as part of preparing a comprehensive master plan for the West coast canal.

The proposal is to identify potential for economic development and create business opportunities in the corridor as part of the development of the canal. Kovalam-Akkulam and Akkulam-Kollam are included among the 13 stretches identified for this project. The concept plan is expected to cost around Rs 4 crore. An official with KWIL said that an agency has been awarded the tender and work has begun on preparing the concept plan.

Source : maritimegateway