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Chaos refuses to fly over

(Top) Vehicles take the service road instead of the Rajmahal flyover and cars negotiate the median cut at Rajmahal Square in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati and Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, March 6: Commuters are less inclined to fly over chaos at Rajmahal Square. Their preference to take service roads running parallel to the flyover is throwing traffic haywire under the overbridge on Janpath.

To facilitate greater use of the flyover, PWD authorities have put up signage at the Kalpana Square end. But most commuters continue to ignore the 562-metre overbridge.

This practice is going against the very purpose for building the overbridge, which sought to reduce traffic chaos at Rajmahal Square.

Seeing only a few commuters taking the flyover from both sides, the PWD officials last month installed a signage at the Kalpana Square end. The signage (see picture) seeks to help commuters to take the right direction to the important squares ahead.

However, the signage is yet to have its desired impact. Now, the PWD is planning to install another signage at the AG Square end.

As of now, commuters continue to use the service roads and take turns at the median cut on Janpath under the bridge. The situation remains the same at the median cut at Bapuji Nagar side and the cut in front of a shoe showroom at Ashok Nagar side with heavy traffic chaos occurring at these two spots.

If one has to go to AG Square from Kalpana Square or vice-versa, he can take the overbridge, which will be smooth and less time consuming. But, people take the left service roads and take turns at median cuts and then head straight.

A commuter said they did not feel comfortable using the flyover. “We are more habituated in using the service roads. The flyover seems to be an unwanted structure here,” said Badagada resident Anupam Mohanty.

Besides, some people also felt that the traffic congestion on main roads near Unit-I and Unit-II markets forced them to take the service roads. “We can take any direction if we take the service roads running parallel to the flyover. We can also visit the markets on both sides of the bridge in case we change our mind,” said Sitakant Panda, who prefers the service roads to the flyover.

However, the public transport services such as autorickshaws, city buses and other transporters prefer plying through the service roads to pick up passengers from the square under the flyover. “Unless we get passengers to AG Square, we do not prefer the overbridge,” said autorickshaw driver Nishikant Sethi.

As the Rs 41-crore overbridge did not become popular with the commuters after almost a year of its inauguration, the authorities conducted a survey and found that the people were confused about the directions. Then they decided to put up the signage indicating directions.

“The direction board has been erected very recently. People are not yet acquainted with it. But, they will definitely use the flyover. We just have to wait and see,” said a senior officer of PWD division-II.

The authorities have been criticised constantly for their lack of farsightedness in constructing the flyover as very few people tend to use it. After its inauguration in October 2012, the service roads running parallel to the flyover were closed to force people to take the overbridge. They also constructed a roundabout at Traffic Square under the flyover, but to no avail. Later, they again built the median along Janpath and kept divider cuts at certain distances. This even did not help their cause.

An official, who was involved in the construction of the flyover, said the people might not find it useful now, but it had been built keeping the future in mind when the vehicular traffic would increase.