A widened stretch of the EM Bypass near the Metropolitan crossing will be thrown open to traffic within a fortnight, promising to bring some respite from snarls at the crossing that is a bottleneck now.
The 70-metre stretch of the Ultadanga-bound flank of the Bypass that has been widened is between the Bartaman building and Metropolitan crossing.
The stretch is only 12 metres wide now and runs for almost 70 metres.
To its south, from where vehicles come into the narrow stretch, the flank is 25 metres wide. All vehicles coming from a much wider road get into the bottleneck, which naturally creates snarls during peak hours.
Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the custodian of the Bypass, has widened the narrow stretch by another 12m. After the widened stretch is thrown open the now narrow stretch will become 24-metre wide.
The KMDA has also built another 12-metre wide service on this narrow stretch.
There is a canal that runs under the stretch. The KMDA has built two culverts — 12 metres each — over the canal to widen the stretch and provide a wider passage for vehicles.
The widening, which includes building the culverts and the road above them, cost Rs 16 crore.
The widening began in 2019 and was supposed to be completed within months. But the pandemic and the need to keep the canal — which drains out rainwater from a large territory of Kolkata — free of any block delayed the work.
“First our work got delayed because of the pandemic. Then last year, we had to keep the work suspended between June and November because the irrigation department did not allow us to block the flow of the canal during and for a few months after monsoon,” said the engineer.
A coat of bituminous layer was being laid on the stretch — between Bartaman and Metropolitan crossings — on Sunday. Another layer of mastic asphalt will be laid this week before it is thrown open, said a senior engineer of the KMDA.
“We are in the final stages of the work. We will try to throw open the widened stretch by next week. If we fail to do that, the widened stretch will be thrown open in the second week of August,” a senior engineer of the KMDA said on Sunday.
The service road that has been built will enable vehicles coming from Science City that want to go into the Metropolitan township to move through the service road all along without requiring to come into the main thoroughfare.
One more bottleneck remains on the Ultadanga-bound flank of the EM Bypass — near the Arsalan restaurant near Ruby.
The engineer said they would soon begin work on widening the stretch near Ruby.