Come February 2004, the Garia crossing, considered to be the gateway of all south Calcutta-bound traffic from different points of the Sunderbans, will boast five approach roads, Shyambazar five-point-crossing-style.
The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has jointly undertaken a Rs 2-crore project with the Public Works Department and the South 24-Parganas district administration to expand the Garia crossing. Officials said on Friday that work will begin by the middle of the month and is expected to be completed within the next six months.
“By next year, the Garia crossroad will be refurbished on the lines of the Shyambazar five-point crossing, with approach roads from five different angles. One can easily reach any part of south Calcutta, Howrah or Sealdah station without facing a jam,” said Birendranath Ghosh, chairman of Borough XI of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.
The construction of a big traffic island tops the agenda, with an automatic signalling system to monitor traffic movement. There are over 20 bus routes bound for Howrah, Sealdah, the airport, and several other parts of the city. Over 2,000 private and state buses ply the area every day, catering to several lakh commuters.
A senior CMDA official said the project was conceived way back in 1982, but could not be undertaken for various reasons, particularly litigation over acquisition of land and interference by some local political leaders. “We have undertaken the work after two decades and are determined to complete it as soon as possible,” he added. Nearly 70 shops and a police outpost near the crossing are being shifted to widen both Netaji Subhas Road and Raja S.C. Mullick Road as part of the programme.
Garia bridge was expanded a few years ago to accommodate two-way traffic. This has helped ease traffic flow in the area, thanks to four narrow approach roads linking Garia with Tollygunge, Jadavpur and far-flung areas of South 24-Parganas. “We have decided to widen all approach roads for smooth flow of traffic,” said Sudhanshu Sil, member of the CMDA board.
The ongoing construction of two proposed Metro Railway stations near Garia bus terminus and Garia station has necessitated the widening of approach roads. “Once the approach roads are widened, these are bound to be less congested,” he observed.
A CMDA official said the Garia crossing has to be expanded for the construction of flyovers both at Lake Gardens and at Sonarpur. Besides, the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector with Eastern Metropolitan Bypass will cause further traffic congestion at the crossing after its completion.
“We have already undertaken the job of widening the Prince Anwar Shah connector along the EM Bypass,” the official added.