Heavy vehicles cross Kandra level crossing near the under-construction overbridge last week. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Today’s pain, tomorrow’s gain. The nightmare commute through Jamshedpur-Kandra-Chowka road to reach NH-33 won’t end before the year-end, as the 100m road overbridge that collapsed four months ago beside Kandra level-crossing is being built from scratch.
The state PWD (road construction), constructing the Chaibasa-Kandra-Chowka stretch at a cost of Rs 333 crore, has taken the 100m overbridge project under its wing from June 20 with a six-month deadline.
The work has been assigned to Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL), a sister concern of construction major Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (ILSF).
Right now, however, the stretch — a key link for a lifeline for over 1,200 industrial units in Adityapur and Gamharia — is a slushy snarl of traffic jams that last for hours.
Though at present Kandra level crossing gates are open for vehicles to pass, the narrow drop-gate obstructs traffic and creates jams starting from 6am to 10pm.
“As the condition of NH-33 between Pardih and Chandil is extremely bad, I preferred going to Ranchi via Tata-Kandra-Chowka Road. But reaching Kandra, I realised I had made a huge mistake. It took almost five hours to cross due to the huge traffic jam on either side of the level-crossing,” said S.N. Singh, a businessman and Jugsalai resident.
Singh added he had learnt his lesson.
“I will venture there only when the new overbridge is built,” he said.
For many, there is no option but to suffer the jams.
As the district administration has banned plying of heavy vehicles through Kharkai bridge and construction of Marine Drive in Kadma-Sonari is on, Tata-Kandra-Chowka road is the only route left for trucks, trailers and other vehicles to reach NH-33.
JARDCL senior manager Alok Mani said they knew about the inconvenience and were taking steps to expedite the road overbridge construction.
“In view of the inconvenience meted out to commuters, we are expediting bridge construction,” Mani told The Telegraph.
Chakradharpur railway senior divisional engineer Anil Kumar Patel said they had opened the Kandra level-crossing for “vehicular movement”. “The number of trains passing through Kandra station is the stumbling block. We hope the overbridge gets complete fast,” he said.
Patel said after getting a request from the secretary of the road construction department, Jharkhand, they opened the Kandra level-crossing for six months. “We have deputed home guards. Once overbridge construction is over, we will close the gates,” he added.
Road construction department executive engineer Sanjay Kumar Singh expressed the hope that the overbridge would be ready by December 20.
“We know thousands of people are facing inconvenience. We are monitoring overbridge construction closely so that work finishes within deadline,” Singh said.
NGO Jan Kalyan Morcha president Om Prakash said they demanded round-the-clock work.
“Commuters are facing unspeakable difficulties. Road construction department should ensure that JARDCL works shifts round-the-clock instead of only daytime,” Prakash said, adding he had written to road construction department secretary and Chakradharpur divisional railway manager.