Bhubaneswar, Aug. 5: The public works department and police will close the roundabout below the Rajmahal flyover to ensure better management of traffic in the area.
The move, on the other hand, is expected to make more use of the overbridge, and thereby, easing the congestion below it. At present, people commuting between Kalpana Square and AG Square are using the roads instead of taking the flyover.
Chief engineer of the works department (roads) Bijan Kumar Behera said: “We decided to close the Rajmahal roundabout after a discussion in the city management group meeting last month. We have built the flyover for around Rs 40 crore, but it is not being used fully. The new move is expected to make traffic control easy on the stretch.”
The commuters coming from Kalpana and going towards Master Canteen, Rupali or Utkal University can take the diversion in front of Cuttack Sweets Stall near Bapuji Nagar. Similarly, one coming from AG Square and willing to reach Kalpana can take the cut in front of the Sreeleathers showroom at Ashok Nagar.
Behera said members of the group consisting of the general administration department, works department, Bhubaneswar Development Authority, police and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had collectively taken the decision.
Sources said convener of the group and special secretary of the general administration department Niten Chandra expressed concern over the commuters’ reluctance in using the flyover.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Binod Das said: “The Rajmahal flyover will go the Jayadev Vihar way to ease traffic management on the stretch. Since commuters prefer to use the roads instead of the flyover, often there is a mess at the square. We will easily regulate the traffic by blocking the roundabout. The two diversions for changing lanes are within 50 metres from the bridge, so that the commuters do not face any problem in commuting between Kalpana and AG Square.”
Many, however, have opposed the decision to close the roundabout. “Since the beginning, we have been saying that the old Rajmahal Square was adequately managing traffic. Besides, it was a bigger roundabout than one at Master Canteen Square. After a beautification project, the size was reduced and the Rajmahal’s misery started since then. After a year, the beautification project was removed and the works department planned the flyover,” said urban development expert Piyush Ranjan Rout.
Rout said the Rajmahal flyover was not at all necessary and a sheer wastage of public money.
“Had the flyover been required, commuters would have been using it by now. There should not be any strategy to make them use it by modifying road designs or the traffic flow. There was a need for an underpass at Rajmahal and not a flyover,” he said.
Bijay Mishra, a local resident, said: “Had there been enough traffic cops and signal posts, traffic could have been efficiently managed. But, it is not happening here and the roads under the flyovers are closed according to the administrators’ whims.”
“Last year during the expansion of Janpath, a passage on the median near the Sreeleathers showroom was closed. Again this year, they are opening it. Why the authorities are wasting money by closing and opening the passages remains unanswered,” he said.
President of the Unit-I Market Traders’ Association Gayadhar Swain, who often takes the stretch, said: “It’s for the people to choose which route to take. The administration may have some plans in closing the circle, but it doesn’t mean that commuters will pay.”