| Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is greeted by transport minister Subhas Chakraborty on his arrival, amid tight security, to inaugurate the AJC Bose Road flyover on Tuesday morning. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
No entry for chaos and crawl; free passage for space and speed. Introducing improved modes of transport and traffic management is up priority street for the government.
This was made clear at the inauguration of the city’s longest flyover, on AJC Bose Road. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said talks were on with the governments of Japan and Thailand to improve modes of surface transport in the city.
“Surface transport in Calcutta is very weak. Trams and buses here are dated,” said chief minister Bhattacharjee.
“We are thinking of introducing skyrails and trolleybuses. Calcutta needs to concentrate on alternative modes of transport, like the Metro Railway, flyovers and water routes, as the city has only six per cent of road space where, ideally, it should be 20 per cent,” added transport secretary H.P. Roy.
Trolleybuses are powered by electricity drawn from overhead cables, but do not move on fixed tracks like trams. Skyrails are light rail transit (LRT), moving on an elevated corridor.
The government is discussing the possibility of bringing in these two modes of transport, with Canadian and Japanese collaboration.
Construction of an “east-west corridor” to connect Ramrajatala, Howrah, BBD Bag, Sealdah, Salt Lake and Rajarhat, right up to Dum Dum airport, comprising both underground and overground systems, is being discussed with the Japanese government.
Another project, for construction of flyovers, underpasses, subways, modernisation of tram tracks skirting the outer ring of congested areas — from Diamond Harbour Road-Joka up to Barasat-Barrackpore — is currently being discussed with the Thai government.
Bhattacharjee also said the installation of improved traffic signals at all important intersections would lead to fewer accidents in the city. “Specific rules for passengers while crossing roads and improved signals will be introduced first in the BBD Bag area,” he said.
The AJC Bose Road flyover, costing Rs 177.73 crore, is among the four flyovers being constructed in the city with a loan from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation. The 2.448-km-long flyover, constructed by the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners, took 29 months and four days to complete.
Bhattacharjee, all praise for those involved in “completing the work on time”, said the stretch below the flyover would be completed by November, along with the “beautification work”.