Blossoms of Safety: Kochi Bypass Beautified with Flowering Plants

Beautiful flowers give a treat to the eyes as one rides along the NH 66 bypass section from Aroor
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Introduction

Driving through the Kochi bypass from Aroor has become a delightful experience, thanks to the vibrant flowering plants lining the NH 66 median. Kochi-Aroor Tollways Pvt Ltd, responsible for maintaining this nearly 17km stretch, has strategically planted these blooms to enhance both aesthetics and safety for road users.

A Floral Welcome

As you enter the bypass, you’re greeted by a variety of flowering plants such as tecoma stans, bougainvillea, strelitzia, and crape jasmine. These plants not only provide a visual treat but also help calm the nerves of drivers, making the journey more pleasant. The floral display continues all the way up to Padivattom.

Enhancing Safety and Beauty

The primary purpose of these plants is to shield drivers from the blinding headlights of oncoming vehicles at night. However, Kochi-Aroor Tollways Pvt Ltd also aimed to add an aesthetic touch to the NH 66 median. “Rain or shine, the plants are taken care of on a daily basis,” says Sahadevan Nambiar, CEO. “Tecoma stans come in shades of yellow, while bougainvillea displays a stunning array of two to three colors. Though crape jasmine mainly blooms in spring, the flowers appear sporadically all year. We have dedicated staff for their regular maintenance.”

Maintenance Efforts

Previously, nerium oleander (arali) plants were also part of the median. However, they have been replaced, not due to safety concerns but because they no longer bloomed as before. “The arali were there for a long time but there were no more blooming flowers,” Nambiar explained.

To maintain the plants, they are regularly trimmed to a uniform height of 4.5 feet. The maintenance costs are covered by the company, which acts as the operation, maintenance, and tolling (OMT) custodian. “Except during the monsoon, it requires three to four tanker loads to water the entire stretch,” Nambiar said. “It costs Rs 5,000 for one load of 36,000 litres. Then there is the labor cost (Rs 900 per person per day). But we do it out of passion.”

Challenges and Commitment

The stretch is also dotted with trees, which pose a challenge during the monsoon season as their leaves can block rainwater drains. “Our 18-member staff would then swing into action, even in the middle of the night, to clear the drains and avoid waterlogging,” Nambiar shared. “We’re proud to say that even when most of Kochi was flooded during the recent heavy rains, the stretch was free of any such issues.”

Looking Ahead

The tenure of Kochi-Aroor Tollways Pvt Ltd, which has been in charge for the past nine years, is set to end in September. “If we’re not given an extension, I hope our successor will continue to maintain the flowers,” Nambiar added.

Conclusion

The flowering plants along the Kochi bypass not only add beauty but also enhance safety, making the drive a more enjoyable experience. The dedicated efforts of Kochi-Aroor Tollways Pvt Ltd have transformed this stretch into a floral haven, ensuring both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits for road users.


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