Vehicles moved slowly through KK Tagore Street, Beadon Street and Rabindra Sarani in north Kolkata during the evening rush hour on Friday, the Day 1 of traffic diversion that has been put in place to facilitate the demolition of the Vivekananda Road flyover.
Police officers were stationed along various roads and lanes in the area around one of Kolkata's busiest business hubs from afternoon, when the diversion took effect.
Many commuters who were not aware of the diversion had to be explained the reason.
Senior officials of the urban development department took possession of the demolition site around 12.30pm, shortly before the diversion kicked in.
A part of Vivekananda Road was barricaded on Friday, marking the start of the second - and the last - phase of the demolition of the flyover, a part of which had collapsed in March 2016, killing 45 people.
In the second phase, the part of the flyover between Girish Park and Ganesh Talkies will be pulled down.
The fallout of the traffic diversion was at its worst between late afternoon and the evening, when senior officers had to rush to various intersections to smoothen the flow through busy arteries.
"The barricading work on Vivekananda Road started around 1pm, and that was when the diversion took effect,” said a police officer. "We hope the rush hour problem would ease out over the next few days, as drivers and commuters get used to the new routes.”
Senior officers said they would observe the traffic flow over the next week or so and try to understand the problem points. They fear the narrow Rabindra Sarani, which is devoid of footpaths, will struggle to accommodate a part of the diverted traffic.
As part of the diversion, buses and minibuses headed down Rabindra Sarani from Lalbazar are being made to travel past Poddar Court to Central Avenue, resulting in a surge in the volume of traffic near the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
Smaller vehicles struggled to move down Rabindra Sarani towards Shyambazar as pedestrians and traders took over portions of the road on either side in the evening.