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Tiers aloft to ease traffic

It is no secret that of all the metros, Calcutta has the least roadspace, pegged at 6 per cent. Unable to accommodate the torrent of vehicles, planners have hit upon the idea of constructing a maze of tiered or elevated roads, some linked to flyovers. And if the planners have their way, an elevated stretch will barge in on Park Street.

A 4.5-km-long elevated road from Parama Island will fork into two at Park Circus, one branch terminating at Circus Avenue, near Beck Bagan, and another on Park Street, near the police station.

A 15-m-high rotary will be built over the Park Circus intersection, with flanks dispersing traffic to the 7.5 -m-high road underneath, connecting with Syed Amir Ali Avenue, New Park Street, Suhrawardy Avenue, Park Street and the AJC Bose flyover.

The three-tiered road project, provisionally estimated at around Rs 300 crore, will be implemented on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya.

'We hope to invite expressions of interest for the project by the end of this year. I'll soon meet housing minister Goutam Deb to explore how much Rajarhat land can be offered to the BOT partner in lieu of the latter's investment,' the minister said.

The arrangement is set to change Park Street forever. A flank of the proposed rotary is slated to descend near the Park Street police station.

The earlier 7.5-m-high rotary planned over this intersection has been scrapped.

Planners maintain that the current arrangement, being fine-tuned, is open to suggestion and is likely to change further.

Another 15-m elevated road will be built over the 7.5-m proposed aerial rotary over Parama island. The road will provide an aerial route to vehicles plying straight between Salt Lake and Garia.

'We changed the existing plan to provide for two layers of road because we want to reduce congestion on the 7.5-m elevated road. Having two layers will ensure that traffic is evenly distributed on both and will prevent slowing down of vehicles during weaving and diversion,' said Tushar Kanti Mitra, director-general (planning), Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).

According to transport experts, the 7.5-m-high proposed rotary on the Park Circus intersection would have created problems.

'When the rotary radius is small and volume of traffic is large, it's difficult for vehicles to merge and diverge from around rotaries,' explained traffic and transportation engineer Ajay Das.

A task force has been formed, comprising A.R. Bardhan, CMDA secretary, the agency's director-general (planning) Mitra, chief traffic and transportation engineer B.K. Sadhu, deputy commissioner (traffic) Arun Sharma, officers of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

The team will work out arrangements to disperse traffic from Milan Mela, the upcoming fair ground on the Bypass.

The new scheme was discussed by the team when it met at the CMDA headquarters on Wednesday.

The old Bridge no. 4 will be demolished and another new three-lane bridge will be constructed alongside the existing new bridge. The 7.5 m, four-lane elevated road will pass over the two Bridges no. 4, effectively making it a 10-lane pathway. 'We've also suggested construction of a flank from the fair grounds to the 7.5-m elevated road to feed vehicles leaving the ground on to the high road,' said Sadhu.

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