The spectre of traffic snarls and the resultant flak faced by the force have prompted the police to draw up an elaborate traffic management roadmap.
To try and ensure as smooth a flow of traffic as possible during the festive days, when the whole city and more seems to take to the roads, the traffic department has decided to regulate vehicular movement on the streets, starting Mahalaya morning.
According to police, movement of goods vehicles will be restricted on Strand Road to keep the riverbanks free on Thursday. “As there will be a large gathering on the banks of the Hooghly for Mahalaya, we will have to regulate traffic on all the roads leading to the ghats,” said M.K. Singh, deputy commissioner of police, traffic department.
As part of the route restrictions, no goods vehicles will be allowed to move along Strand Road and St George’s Gate Road, between Raja Woodmunt Street and the Hastings crossing, from 4 am to 2 pm. Goods vehicles may also be asked to avoid an arterial road by the on-duty traffic police to curb congestion on BT Road and Cossipore Road.
Vehicles carrying goods from Posta will be diverted along KK Tagore Street and Vivekananda Road. The vehicles can either take CR Avenue, Chowringhee Road and Dufferin Road or Vivekananda Road, APC Roy Road, AJC Bose Road and Vidyasagar Setu.
The Durga Puja traffic curbs will come into force from Shasthi evening. “As Wednesday will be the last working day, we will not be able to regulate traffic from the morning. Full-fledged traffic restrictions will be applied only after the day’s work,” explained Singh.
In a significant move, police have decided to keep both the flanks of the Rashbehari connector to the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass open. “Traffic will flow in both directions, as opposed to last year, when only one flank of the road was kept open for vehicular movement and the other restricted to car parking for pandal-hoppers,” said Singh. “This time, there are clear instructions that no car will be allowed to park on the entire stretch.”
The other major move is on Prince Anwar Shah Road, where makeshift guard-rails will be erected along the entire stretch, to restrict random pedestrian crossing that had caused chaos last year. The Usha factory has also given police permission to use its premises as a special Puja parking lot for “at least 500 cars”, Singh added.
All puja guidelines will be beamed on the television sets in the Metro Railway platforms to encourage pandal-hoppers to take the underground.