The urban development department has sought closure of traffic on alternate flanks of the Parama flyover for six hours from 11pm either Saturday or Sunday every week for “sweeping, cleaning and upkeep” of the structure.
In a letter to Kolkata police, the executive engineer of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), which functions under the urban development department and maintains the flyover, has sought the closure of night traffic on alternate flanks “for the year 2023 to 2024”.
Weekend traffic on the flyover, spanning 7.5km between the AJC Bose Road flyover in the west and EM Bypass in the east, had been shut on a few occasions to facilitate maintenance.
But this is the first time when the KMDA has sought traffic block for six hours every weekend, officials of the urban development department said.
Thorough sweeping of the road surface has to be done once a week for three reasons, senior engineers said.
First, given the volume of garbage thrown on the flyover by commuters every day — plastic packets, gutkha pouches and bottles, among other items — regular sweeping will ensure that the water outlets of the structure don’t get clogged.
Secondly, the sweeping will help identify wear and tear of the surface, particularly of the steel structures and expansion joints, which often get covered with layers of dust and sand.
And thirdly, regular sweeping will remove sharp objects and nails that often cause flat tyre.
“The sweeping has to be done manually, not with machines. There are over 300 water outlets along the entire length of the flyover and they need to be kept unclogged for better maintenance of the structure,” a KMDA engineer said. “Without a traffic block, such an exhaustive sweeping operation can’t be carried out regularly.”
The volume of traffic on the Parama flyover has gone up many times since a ramp connecting it with the AJC Bose Road flyover was opened in 2019. The Parama flyover is now one of the busiest in the city, senior police officers said.
Around 150 vehicles reach the crossing of the Race Course Road and AJC Bose Road from the flyover every minute on a average, except at night, they said.
As the traffic load on the flyover is steadily rising, senior officers at the police headquarters in Lalbazar decided to distribute the responsibility of managing traffic on it between two traffic guards, East and Tiljala.
“Moving vehicles bring dust along with them and it gets accumulated on the sides of the carriageway and move into the water outlets. The sweeping will be a round-the-year exercise, not just a monsoon activity,” the engineer said.
“The traffic block will also help our electrical team to run checks and carry out maintenance.”
Senior police officers said regular sweeping will also ensure that vehicles don’t come to a halt on the flyover because of flat tyre.
“We do give permission for traffic block to the KMDA for maintaining the flyover on and off. We need to discuss whether a sweeping block for a year can be given every weekend, considering the stress resulting from law and order situations,” an officer said.