The HRBC building that will house the new secretariat, flanked by ramps of the Vidyasagar Setu
- Width of the ramps
to new secretariat to
be increased. The one leading to the building will be widened first.
- First structural modification since Vidyasagar Setu was commissioned in 1992
- lTwo additional ramps to be built on Sarat Chatterjee Road to ease movement of chief minister and
- Project cost estimated to be ‘a few crore rupees’
Two ramps of the Vidyasagar Setu are set to be widened in anticipation of a surge in traffic once Mamata Banerjee moves to Howrah bag, baggage and babu.
“These ramps leading to pockets of Howrah were not meant for heavy traffic, so their width had been kept at around 5.5-6 metres,” said Sadhan Banerjee, vice chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners. “Now they need to be widened to cope with the expected traffic load.”
The ramp leading to the HRBC-owned temporary secretariat building in Mandirtala will be widened to 8.5 metres in what will be the first structural change to the 21-year-old Vidyasagar Setu, also called the Second Hooghly Bridge. Work on the second ramp will start after the first one is ready.
Experts said widening the ramps, each around 80 metres in length, would be a challenging task. “We will have to raise walls from ground level till the height of the ramps. At the highest point, the height would be around 12 feet and close to three feet at the lowest,” an HRBC engineer said.
The existing guard walls of the ramps would be demolished and the gap filled with sand and concrete, increasing the width of the carriageway by three metres.
“The idea is to ensure that two vehicles can move comfortably through the ramps. This will reduce the chance of rush-hour traffic congestion in the morning and evening,” said a senior traffic police officer.
The HRBC has also decided to build two ramps on the eastern side of Sarat Chatterjee Road, the narrow carriageway skirting Garment Park, to help chief minister Mamata and other VIPs and high-profile visitors make a smooth entry and exit.
“Each of these ramps will be 55 to 60 metres in length and around seven metres wide. They will lead directly to the main gate of the secretariat,” the HRBC engineer said.
Garment Park will be the seat of power till Writers’ Buildings undergoes extensive renovation to restore its Raj-era look.
Apart from additional VIP traffic, a large fleet of buses will be ferrying staff to the secretariat. The five state-owned transport corporations, including CTC and CSTC, will be deploying 40-odd extra buses on the route.
The number of private buses is expected to shoot up, too.