A Camac Street pavement which will be narrowed to make room for widening the carriageway. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
The pavements along Camac Street will become narrower in three months as the civic body is working on widening the thoroughfare from two to four lanes to ensure faster movement of vehicles.
The city had sent a proposal to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation a year ago to widen Camac Street keeping in mind the increasing vehicular load on the artery. It will take about three months to finish work.
“We have started work. First some advertisement hoardings, underground cables and lamp posts have to be shifted. Also, a few trees need to be felled before we start widening the road,” said mayoral council member (roads) Sushanta Ghosh. “Camac Street now has two lanes. Post-widening, there will be four lanes.”
The widening will also see a 600m stretch of Camac Street — between its crossings with Park Street and Shakespeare Sarani — become uniform in width.
“The width of the stretch varies from 8.8m to 15.4m (a small stretch near the Shakespeare Sarani crossing). Once work on widening is over, the stretch will be 15.4m wide all through, except a small section near the Park Street crossing where the width will be 13.8m,” said an engineer of the road department of the civic body.
As part of the project, the pavements along the road will be made narrower. “The pavements are very wide. Even after they are narrowed, the width will not be less than 2m. There will be enough space for pedestrians,” said an engineer.
However, with hawkers occupying parts of the sidewalks, there is a risk that pedestrians will have to jostle their way through.
Portions of Camac Street, especially the pavements close to the Middleton Street crossing or in front of Vardaan Market, are occupied by hawkers. “We have spoken to the hawkers. We will not evict them but if required, they will have to leave more space for pedestrians,” said mayoral council member Ghosh.
Officials said the pavement in front of Vardaan Market, now 4.8m wide, will become 2m wide after the widening of the road. Near the Middleton Street crossing, the pavements will be 3.3m wide after.
A regular Camac Street shopper said: “If the hawkers do not push back a little, walking on some stretches will be difficult.”
The civic body is also widening parts of Cossipore Road in north Calcutta by reducing the width of the pavements.