The Telegraph
Friday , April 11 , 2014
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Flyover hits fast track

- July 2015 deadline to open first stretch

The incomplete stretch of the Parama-Park Circus flyover near Science City

The Parama-Park Circus flyover will definitely be opened to traffic till near Topsia police station on New Park Street by July 2015, a monitoring committee constituted by Calcutta High Court reaffirmed at its first meeting on Thursday.

The state government will hand over land in front of Silver Spring, on the Bypass, by next week so that Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) can quickly resume work on the city’s longest flyover, stalled since January last year.

The monitoring committee, whose brief is to remove bottlenecks apart from keeping tabs on the progress of the project, met at the Hidco office in New Town.

Once the first phase of the project is over by July 2015, someone taking the flyover near Silver Spring will have an unhindered ride till New Park Street and vice versa. There will be two ramps on New Park Street for movement in opposite directions to the flyover.

“A ride that takes more than 30 minutes would then require less than 10 minutes,” an official said.

A site inspection has been scheduled for Saturday to decide which stretch of the Bypass will be cordoned off.

The team will also inspect the New Park Street site and mark the portions from where underground utilities would need to be shifted.

“We want work to begin immediately. Our sole aim is to ensure that construction of the flyover resumes as early as possible,” urban development minister Firhad Hakim told Metro after the meeting. “We will ensure that any bottleneck is cleared with the active co-operation of all agencies involved in the project,” he said.

The earnestness was evident in the turnout at the Hidco office. All the members of the committee were present, including urban development secretary Debashis Sen, police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha, municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed, CESC managing director Aniruddha Basu and Sadhan Banerjee, vice-chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners.

“We have decided that all members would meet on the last Tuesday of every month,” urban development secretary Sen said. “Since all these are very high-ranking officials, we have fixed a date to ensure that nobody is absent unless under extraordinary circumstances.”

The high court has asked the committee to submit a progress report each on the flyover every quarter.

Sources said scheduling a meeting on the last Tuesday of every month was meant to ensure that the committee members didn’t shift responsibility or delay taking decisions.

Thursday’s meeting decided that a span of 23 metres across the median divider of the Bypass near Silver Spring would be barricaded for construction, leaving 10 metres on either side open for traffic.

If the site is handed over to HCC by next week, it would be almost a fortnight ahead of the court’s deadline. The high court has directed the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to hand over that site by May 2.

“Cordoning off a part of the Bypass means slowing down traffic, but the police commissioner and the deputy commissioner of traffic have agreed to it in principle. The government doesn’t want to waste time,” said a senior official present at the meeting. “The police have only sought some extra space during Durga Puja when traffic flow on this corridor will double.”

Work on the stretch near Silver Spring is unlikely to take much time since the underground utilities have been already shifted, sources in the CMDA said.

A culvert is being built around the site but that should be ready in a few days.

Shifting of underground utilities is expected to pose a bigger challenge near the Park Circus seven-point crossing. A water pipe would need to be shifted along with electricity and telephone cables and a 70-metre stretch of a gas pipeline.

The flyover will split into two arms in front of Topsia police station, one of them moving along Congress Exhibition Road to merge with the AJC Bose Road flyover. The other arm will take Parama-bound vehicles from the AJC Bose Road flyover towards the new elevated corridor.

Congress Exhibition Road is a narrow artery with heavy traffic and several underground utilities, making it one of the tougher challenges for the engineering team.

The 8.14km flyover had become embroiled in a cost-escalation dispute and later a court case started by HCC, challenging the government’s bid to find a new contractor for remaining 35 per cent of the project.

On April 2, Justice Dipankar Datta breathed life back into the project by asking HCC to resume work and complete the flyover within budget by May 2016.