Thiruvananthapuram: The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), the consultant roped in by the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd (KRTL) for the Light Metro project to carry out the feasibility study to divert the light metro via Technopark campus, is all set to launch a comprehensive ridership and traffic study on the Karyavattom-Technopark-Airport corridor. According to officials, the authorities are planning to explore new mass rapid transit technologies based on the ridership to establish connectivity with the existing light metro alignment.
NATPAC Director in-charge S.Shaheem told DC that the flyover project from Technopark to Kazhakootam is a major hurdle for the diversion plan. As per the current alignment, from Kazhakootam Junction the light metro turns towards Kariyavattom towards Pangapara and Sreekaryam.
"It's highly impractical to go ahead with the diversion plan because of the flyover project. Hence we are planning to explore the possibility of new alternatives. One is to give a new station at Karyavattom and add Technopark as a new route. There is a huge change in the ridership and traffic pattern in the Technopark route. We did the study back in 2011 and only after the new study we would be able to conclude on the feasibility," said Mr Shaheem.
He said that NATPAC would explore more technologies apart from personal rapid transport system, monorail, metro rail and light metro.
"The new technology would be selected based on the ridership data. We are sure if we are able to extend the facility till Airport we would get more ridership," said Mr Shameem.
As per the current proposal placed by the KRTL, NATPAC has been asked to do the feasibility study in the 4.5 km stretch from Karyavattom towards Technopark. "We have been asked to submit the feasibility study report within 2 months and we are hoping to finish it within 2 to 3 months. We will place the proposal before the NATPAC by next week. We will kick off the study very soon," Mr Shameem added.
On Wednesday, the board chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to go ahead with the project. It is learnt that the estimated cost of the projects has gone up following the revisions made in the DPR. Both the light metro projects at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram are estimated to cost around Rs 4,000 crore.
The state and centre would chip in 20 percent each for executing the project while 60 percent of the funds would be raised through loans.