Rabindra Setu if you are leaving the city; Vidyasagar Setu if you are entering it. Traffic and tension if you have a train to catch; free flow if you are headed into town.
In two years, leaving for the holidays could be as hassle-free as getting back home from Howrah station.
Having finally concluded that the load on Howrah bridge is too much for it to bear, the transport department has decided to create an alternative, viable route to the station.
So, Vidyasagar Setu will get two more wings to facilitate the flow of commuters, especially from east and south Calcutta, to Howrah station.
The transport department has decided to commission the building of two small flyovers connecting Vidyasagar Setu with Foreshore Road.
“We hope to overcome the reluctance of many passengers to use the new bridge on their way to the station,” said an official in the transport department.
The proposed link flyovers will rise just after crossing the Hooghly and terminate at Foreshore Road, after taking a turn (see graphic). It will be something similar to the slip road at Ultadanga or Bridge no. 4 in Park Circus.
“Once the link flyovers are completed, most commuters from the eastern and southern parts of the city, including Salt Lake, will definitely use Vidyasagar Setu to reach Howrah station,” stressed transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.
“They will be assured a smooth passage and can reach the station far swifter, avoiding congested Burrabazar and a number of intersections. Simultaneously, traffic load on Howrah bridge will be reduced. When this happens, commuters in the northern parts of the city will also benefit,” added the minister.
Transport department officials said vehicles from Park Circus could reach Howrah station with no interruption, thanks to the AJC Bose Road flyover, Vidyasagar Setu and then the new link flyovers.
The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority has already widened Foreshore Road along the west bank of the Hooghly for the benefit of Howrah station-bound vehicles coming down Vidyasagar Setu.
“Hardly any vehicles use the road now because, after crossing Vidyasagar Setu, one has to drive at least 3.5 km before reaching Foreshore Road. Besides, the stretch is extremely congested,” said Sadhan Pande, chairman of the Assembly’s subject committee on transport.
“Hence, commuters refuse to use Vidyasagar Setu and prefer the conventional route,” added Pande.
According to the latest plans, one of the two link flyovers will be used for the upward traffic and the other for the downward flow. Separate toll plazas will be installed on both the new link flyovers.
The Rs 3-crore project will be implemented by the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC).
Initially cars, taxis and two-wheelers will be allowed to use the new flyovers. Later, the facility could be extended to goods vehicles, but only after an assessment is carried out.
“Since there is no land acquisition involved and no other roadblocks, we expect the construction of the two link flyovers to be completed within two years,’’ officials of the transport department said.