The construction of the 29km New Garia-airport Metro corridor has led to blockades on portions of roads, including EM Bypass, on multiple stretches. The width of the carriageway has reduced, resulting in traffic snarls.
Work has been going on for years and commuters have no idea when the barricades will be removed. The Telegraph took a ride along the route and here is what we saw
The Chinar Park crossing in New Town is one the worst crossings along the Metro corridor to navigate. A stretch of Biswa Bangla Sarani near the crossing is barricaded in the middle, resulting in a bottleneck.
An officer of Bidhannagar City Police said the Chinar Park crossing had remained barricaded for at least six months.
A New Town resident who crosses the stretch often said that during rush hours, it could take five or six minutes to cross a 200-metre stretch. The matter is further complicated by rickshaws and cars parked along the roadside.
The wait at the signal at the crossing is long because of heavy traffic on Rajarhat Road, which runs perpendicular to Biswa Bangla Sarani. “Had Biswa Bangla Sarani been wider near the crossing, more cars would have been able to pass through the intersection,” said the resident.
The movement of south-bound two-wheelers through the north-bound flank near the crossing only worsens the situation.
EM Bypass-Anwar Shah Road connector crossing
The middle of the crossing has remained blocked for about a year and a half. Commuters coming via the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector and heading towards Patuli and those from Ruby and going towards the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector are among the worst sufferers.
Those travelling from the direction of Ruby have to travel much ahead of the crossing – till the point where a road from the Bypass goes towards Kishore Bharati Stadium in Santoshpur– to take a U-turn and come back to the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector. During evenings there is often a long queue of vehicles waiting to take the U-turn.
A resident of Kasba who goes to Ajoynagar frequently said he had to wait for 10 minutes in the morning on some days at the crossing. “I come via the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector. There are so many vehicles heading towards Ruby that police do not allow a free left turn from the crossing. I have to wait for 10 minutes before I turn left and then take a U-turn to travel through the Ajoynagar-bound flank of the Bypass,” he said.
VIP Road (near Kaikhali)
A 250m-stretch of VIP Road near Kaikhali is barricaded in the middle for the Metro construction. The road has narrowed as one of the lanes is blocked for the work.
An officer of Bidhannagar City Police said the stretch was barricaded for two-and-a-half years.
A resident said the stretch of VIP Road was snarl-prone. Pallavi Dutta, who lives in a housing complex near the airport, said the drive back home from her Camac Street office in central Kolkata took more than one-and-a-half hours.
“The drive down the Parama flyover and EM Bypass takes relatively less time but as soon as I reach VIP Road, I am greeted by snarls. The stretch of VIP Road near Kaikhali is worse. The cops often try to divert traffic through service lanes but even those are blocked by hawkers,” Dutta said.
The Technopolis crossing and the road leading to it from Salt Lake are also barricaded, narrowing the thoroughfare. The waiting time for vehicles at the crossing is too long.
RVNLspeak: Amit Roy, executive director of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, implementing agency of New Garia-airport Metro, said the first phase of the project — between New Garia and the Ruby crossing on EM Bypass — would become operational by September.
“We will complete the first phase by September,” he said.
Work on the other stretches where barricades have been put up “will take a year or 18 months to complete”, he said.