In a decision that can hold wide ramifications on the traffic movement in the city for three-four days in August, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has asked Kolkata traffic police to finalize the dates on which it can carry out the health audit of Sealdah flyover — the Vidyapati Setu. This will mean that Kolkata Police might have to shut the all-important flyover down either between August 10 and 12 or from August 15 to 18.
“We have sought for a full shutdown of the bridge for conducting the load capacity test. We are waiting for confirmation of the dates for us to prepare for conducting the tests,” said a KMDA official.
DC (traffic) Santosh Pandey told TOI that KMDA has been been asked to share their plans with the police in writing. “Since this is a mammoth exercise, we need to know about the KMDA plan, depending on which we will come up with a traffic circulation plan. This is the preliminary stage and not the time to discuss the finer aspects. We will issue a notification in due time,” he said.
Police sources said a joint inspection between KMDA officers and the Sealdah traffic guard, along with senior officers of Lalbazar, is likely soon.
“We have proposed these dates as August 10 and 11, which are a Saturday and Sunday, while August 12 will be a holiday because of Bakr Eid. Alternatively, we have proposed the dates from August 15 to 18. In that case, we have a working day on August 16, after which we have the weekend,” a traffic cops said.
“The whole idea is to ensure that we do not disturb too many working days. Ideally, we will propose to keep at least one flank of the flyover open. If possible, we will also propose to keep at least one of the two — the College Street-bound flank and the Sealdah station-bound flanks — open. Also, we will request that work on August 16 — a working day — is restricted to the night,” the officer added.
The planning department of Kolkata Police will be helping the Sealdah guard in this respect.
Constructed over 35 years ago, the structural condition of Sealdah bridge has been in doubt as there has been no major repair or maintenance for years. Plants have come up from the walls of the structure, raising more fears about its internal structural condition. KMDA has decided to uproot these plants.
Police said they want a clarification on whether they need to remove the hawkers underneath the flyover.
“We might need to remove some obstruction below the flyover to ensure there is free movement of passengers both in and out of the station. We are expecting a significant rise in the number of people walking to the station,” said a police source.
There are several plans for cops to choose from. Instead of AJC Bose Road and APC Roy Road axis, Central Avenue is expected to cater to north-south traffic. MG Road may be used as a crucial link in case the College Street-arm is allowed to operate during the day. “College Street, Bidhan Sarani and Amherst Street can be made two-way to ease the movement of north-south traffic, but that will depend on the ground situation,” said a traffic planner, who was earlier associated with KMC.
Amongst other possible routes from the south, Sealdah station can be approached via Moulali crossing-CIT Road-Convent Road. From the north, Sealdah station can be approached via Rajabazar. Goods vehicles will be diverted along Canal East Road and Beliaghata Main Road will be used by Sealdah-bound traffic from the east.
KMDA is conducting structural tests and preparing a health audit for several flyovers in the city. Load capacity test is one of the most important tests for assessing the structural stability of an elevated corridor. Baghajatin rail overbridge was recently closed for a load capacity test. Similar tests were carried out on Ultadanga flyover, Chingrighata flyover and Kalighat bridge only a few weeks back.
Source: Times of India