With traffic turning chaotic by the day at the Park Circus seven-point crossing, the authorities have decided to carve up the three islands at the vortex to increase road space and ensure freer flow of traffic.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee uses this intersection to reach Writers’ Buildings from his Palm Avenue residence, in south Calcutta. So do a host of other VIPs, like finance minister Asim Dasgupta, home secretary Amit Kiran Deb and ministers living in Salt Lake.
Deputy commissioner (traffic) M.K. Singh said the islands will be reduced to a tenth of their size to make way for six lanes. “This is double of what exists at present and work is expected to be completed by the middle of this year,’’ Singh said.
According to statistics available with the traffic department, about 500 vehicles travel through the area a minute during peak hours. “The available road space makes it impossible for cars to move smoothly, leading to massive traffic jams,” Singh said. “Pedestrians keep spilling onto the road, adding to the chaos.”
There are three small islands in the middle of the seven-point intersection. The statue of Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan is installed on one of the islands; the other two are parks.
Vehicles taking seven important roads — New Park Street, Park Street, Theatre Road, Circus Avenue, Suhrawardy Avenue, Jannagar Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue — converge on this intersection and then either cut through the islands or skirt them. After the islands are made smaller, the police will introduce new traffic rules.
Singh said several rounds of talks had already been held with Larsen & Toubro (L&T), the engineering firm constructing the AJC Bose Road flyover, the police and transport department officials. It has been decided that apart from decreasing the size of the islands, the road would be relaid to flatten it, despite the tram tracks on it. Work on this entire project will be undertaken by L&T.
Transport department officials said demolition work, which started on Sunday, is expected to speed up by the middle of this month. The police said that once the AJC Bose Road flyover is ready, it will add to the bottleneck at Park Circus.
“We are planning the revised roadmap, keeping this in mind,” Singh said. “There will be more cars piling up and unless the road space is increased, traffic will not move.”
The autorickshaw stand opposite the Park Circus tram depot will also be removed and relocated, as it blocks the flow of traffic to and from Salt Lake, the deputy commissioner added.