Both flanks of the Taratala flyover in Alipore will remain shut to traffic on Sunday to make way for repairs of the expansion joints of the flyover, police said.
While the flank that brings vehicles from Behala towards the government mint will remain closed to traffic till 6am on Monday, the Behala-bound flank was shut from Saturday afternoon and will continue to remain shut till the repairs are complete, officers said.
From late afternoon on Saturday all Behala and Sakher Bazar-bound vehicles were diverted from the approach of the Taratala flyover towards the Taratala crossing along Diamond Harbour Road. This resulted in congestion as vehicles struggled to squeeze past in single lane adjoining the flyover.
Officers tried to work out a solution by allowing the mint-bound flank of the flyover to be used for allowing vehicles on both directions alternately. But even that did not work. Vehicles piled up near the main gate of the mint till senior officers intervened and managed to ease the congestion.
“On Sunday, all vehicles that would have taken the flyover from the Behala-end will be diverted along the Diamond Harbour Road,” said a senior police officer.
The immediate trigger for closure was a gap that surfaced on the Behala-bound flank of the flyover on Friday evening.
Senior police officers and their counterparts from the PWD rushed to the spot and after a thorough inspection, it emerged that the expansion joint of the flank that takes vehicles from Mint towards Behala had suffered wear and tear and needed repair.
“Since it makes little sense to repair the expansion joints of one of the flanks, we decided that both the flanks of the flyover will be shut to allow repair of the joints on both sides,” said a senior official of the PWD that maintains the flyover.
Launched in February 2006, Taratala flyover was built to connect the government mint and the Ajanta theatres on Diamond Harbour over the busy Taratala intersection.
The 551-metre long four-lane flyover was handed over to the PWD for maintenance.
“We were demanding a traffic closure with the police for some time, ever since the vehicular load on Taratala flyover went up by several times with the inauguration of the new Majerhat bridge,” said the PWD official. “Unlike several flyovers, lorries are not restricted on Taratala flyover and hence the additional load on the expansion joints.”
The flyover has around 10 expansion joints and officials in the PWD’s Alipore division said the expansion joints of the flyover were last repaired in 2019.
Expansion joints are mid-structure separations designed to relieve stress on deck slabs caused by movement triggered by thermal expansion and contraction because of changes in temperature.