The new Tallah bridge, Hemanta Setu, that was inaugurated on Thursday will be opened to traffic from Saturday midnight because the finishing work is yet to be complete, police said.
Heavy vehicles, including buses but barring lorries, are likely to be allowed to use the bridge from September 29, sources in the state government said.
The decision to allow smaller vehicles to use the bridge, which was inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, from Mahalaya was taken on Friday afternoon at a meeting attended by senior officials of the public works department and Kolkata police.
“We will allow the movement of smaller vehicles on the bridge from Saturday midnight,” Sunil Kumar Yadav, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, told The Telegraph. “Whatever little work is left, including the finishing touches, will be over by Saturday and vehicles will be allowed to move beginning Saturday midnight.”
Senior PWD officials said on Friday a significant part of the day was spent dismantling the structure that was set up to host the inauguration programme. The pandal erected to accommodate guests at the programme spread across 10,000 square feet and was built on steel props and bamboos.
The first half of Saturday will be spent clearing the remains of the structure, including nails, from the bridge and putting some last-minute finishing touches.
“A small bit of mastic work on the Chitpore ramp is still incomplete because of persistent rain. We will do up that part before thoroughly inspecting the ramps leading to Shyambazar and towards Dunlop,” said a senior PWD engineer.
“We will observe how the structure is doing for the next week before allowing heavy vehicles such as buses to use the bridge, hopefully before the Puja. Lorries will be barred from the bridge for now.”
Built at an estimated cost of Rs 540 crore, the 750-metre-long bridge is a four-lane structure whose load-bearing capacity is around 500 tonnes, over 100 tonnes more than the old one.
Senior PWD engineers said IIT Kharagpur and the railway both had handed load test certificates for the bridge and the structure is fit to bear the weight of fully-loaded lorries.
“There is a restriction on the movement of lorries during the Puja. So we will wait a bit longer before allowing heavy vehicles like trucks and containers to ply through the bridge. The structure has been built for all types of vehicles and there is nothing to stop it from doing so,” the engineer said.