|Traffic chaos at Rajmahal Square in Bhubaneswar after it was barricaded in the centre for flyover construction work. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee
Bhubaneswar, July 29: Commuters who had to pass through Rajmahal Square today were in for rude shock. The middle of the square was barricaded for the ongoing building of a flyover. The result was a traffic mess.
Though the public works department (PWD) officials and city police claimed to have taken steps to ease traffic flow at the square, motorists were a confused lot today.
The roads and buildings division of the PWD barricaded around 300 square metres of space in the middle of the square to erect the central pillar for the flyover that would allow vehicular movement from AG Square to Kalpana without creating any traffic snarls at Rajmahal Square. This square is the busiest square in the city with more than 30,000 vehicles plying on it everyday.
“When I came to Rajmahal Square from Shisubhavan Square this morning, I found the road blocked. When I took the road to my right, it was very narrow and I was stuck,” said Anshuman Mohanty, a trader at Saheed Nagar.
Like Anshuman, several commuters struggled to extricate themselves from traffic chaos when they reached the square today. Traffic police too were hard pressed to find a way out of the snarl for the vehicles, guiding them towards diversions, particularly during peak hours.
Malay Sethi, an engineering student at a private college in the city, said that the authorities should have put signboards pointing them in the right direction.
“They should have informed the public beforehand about the diversions. It created a lot of confusion. We didn’t know which way to go,” said Sethi.
The construction of the Rs 37.45 crore flyover, with 30 spans, started in March 2009 and was initially supposed to have been completed by March 2011. PWD officials said that the work was running behind schedule because of some unnamed problems and had been rescheduled for completion by December this year. Till date, 26 spans have been built.
Executive engineer of division II of the works department Ranjit Sahu said that they had taken several steps such as widening of the roads on either side after consultation with the police to ease traffic at the square when the barricades were put up.
“We had to take this sudden step to finish the work within the stipulated time and the inconvenience caused to the public is regretted. We hope the commuters will bear with us for the next several months till the construction is over,” said Sahu.
He added that in the coming days traffic would be diverted under the penultimate spans of the flyover and such a proposal had been given to the city police.
Traffic police officers said the commuters would face a problem today as it was the first day that the barricade had been put up. “Our personnel are there to guide motorists and within the next two to three days the situation will become normal,” said an officer.
PWD officials complained that other government agencies were not cooperating with them, thus delaying construction. .
“There are electric poles on the rod which need to be removed for smooth traffic flow,” said a works department official.