Traffic movement through BT Road is likely to be slower from Saturday as the majority of goods vehicles leaving and entering Kolkata will be diverted down the key artery in the north to facilitate repairs of the Santragachhi railway overbridge in Howrah.
“Starting Saturday, cars, buses, two-wheelers and ambulances will be allowed on the Santragachhi bridge between 5am and 11pm. No goods vehicles will be allowed to use the bridge till the repair is over,” Praveen Kumar Tripathi, police commissioner of the Howrah police commissionerate, said.
“Forces will be deployed on the Santragachhi bridge around the clock.”
The Santragachhi bridge, which connects National Highway-16 and Kona Expressway in Howrah, is a lifeline for vehicles entering and leaving Kolkata, mostly via Vidyasagar Setu.
A traffic survey by the Howrah police has found that close to 70,000 vehicles use the Santragachhi bridge every day.
The girders were last repaired in 2016. Six years later, PWD engineers have decided to replace around 20 damaged expansion joints of the bridge to ensure the structure oscillates desirably and the vehicular load is adequately transferred through the pillars to the ground.
Apart from that, some repair work will also be carried out at the Kolkata-end of the bridge's viaduct, PWD officials said.
Men and machines for the repair job arrived near the Santragachhi bridge late on Friday.
“Traffic curbs on the bridge will kick in on Saturday and are likely to remain in place till the end of December,” said a senior officer of the Howrah police commissionerate.
Senior officers said smaller vehicles headed for Salap or Dhulagarh could take the Howrah-Amta road from the Shanpur intersection, immediately after crossing the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza.
Goods vehicles headed for the Dhulagarh toll plaza on NH-16 (formerly NH-6) from Kolkata will be allowed to take Andul Road after crossing the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza between 10pm and 6am, senior police officers said.
“Since Andul Road is narrow, autorickshaws and battery-powered rickshaws will not be allowed on it during the period trucks and other goods vehicles ply through it,” said an officer.
The goods vehicles that till Friday entered the city through the Santragachhi bridge from the Dankuni-end, via Maitypara, will from Saturday be diverted through Nivedita Setu, BT Road and the Tallah bridge, the police said.
All goods vehicles bound for Durgapur Expressway and Delhi Road will be diverted towards Nivedita Setu via the Lockgate flyover, Tallah bridge, BT Road and Dunlop.
“We have decided that all goods vehicles leaving the Kolkata port and heading for Delhi Road will be diverted through Strand Road, Esplanade crossing and Chittaranjan Avenue to BT Road and Dunlop. From there they will be directed towards Nivedita Setu,” said a senior police officer.
“Those that are headed for Mumbai Road will be diverted through Andul Road from 10pm to 6am.”
All goods vehicles leaving Posta, Budge Budge and Maheshtala and heading for Delhi Road will have to move through Esplanade, Chittaranjan Avenue and BT Road on their way to Dunlop.