Kochi’s port connectivity national highway corridor hits a hurdle

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KOCHI : The land acquisition process for the 6-km port connectivity NH corridor (NH 966-B) that would take off from Netoor on the NH bypass has hit a hurdle, reportedly since the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Cochin Port Authority (CPA) are on different pages regarding its alignment.

The four-lane corridor linking the Aroor-Edappally bypass with Willingdon Island was to take off from Nettoor, where the NHAI has mulled a trumpet flyover, and end at Willingdon Island, bypassing the congested Kundannur Junction and the problematic 2-km-long Kundannur bridge. The bridge (maintained by the PWD-NH wing) that has only two-lane width and caters for container lorries, other goods carriers, and passenger vehicles is almost always ridden with gaping potholes and undulations.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had in November 2023 approved the alignment for the port connectivity NH corridor, while issuing of the 3(A) notification for land acquisition was slated to be issued by December-end. “This was not to be since the CPA was unwilling to accept its alignment, saying that it passed through land bordering the backwaters where it mulled a hospitality project,” official sources said.

As per the NHAI’s plan, the requisite land for the 45-metre-wide highway was to be acquired by January-end since much of the alignment passed through the backwaters and port land, leaving just around 75 houses and other buildings to be acquired. This was to be followed by floating of tenders in March for the highway corridor that was expected to be opened to traffic in 18 months from then on, by September 2025. “With the CPA not agreeing to the alignment, it has to be seen whether the NHAI would be able to adhere to the deadline,” the sources added.

Officials in the CPA said the agency had already handed over land running largely parallel to the existing road and bridges to build a 45-metre-wide NH corridor. “This is crucial to augment connectivity to the port, considering the expected influx of container cargo from among others, the Vizhinjam Port. The CPA’s land-use plan is being revised, and it has to be seen whether land along the alignment that the NHAI has zeroed in can be handed over for the NH. These matters would hopefully be taken up at a discussion that we plan to hold with NHAI officials in the coming week,” they said.



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