Howrah bridge ban

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 14.04.07

Heavy goods vehicles will no longer ply on Howrah bridge, which now bears load much beyond its capacity.

The ban takes effect from next week for vehicles with more than two axles or six wheels, and from May 31 for vehicles with two axles or six wheels, which include medium-sized trucks.

With the smoke-belching goods vehicles being diverted to Vidyasagar Setu and Second Vivekananda Setu (to be commissioned in May), the congestion and pollution on the 64-year-old city landmark will be reduced considerably.

The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting chaired by chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb. Additional chief secretary (transport) Sumantra Chowdhury, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Jawed Shamim, superintendent of police (North 24-Parganas) Praveen Kumar and superintendent of police (Howrah) Niraj Kumar Singh were among those who attended the meeting.

“Overloaded trucks have been plying on the bridge for decades. But of late, the traffic has far exceeded the load-bearing capacity of the structure,” said Chowdhury.

“Ever since a barge hit the bottom of the bridge on June 24, 2005, Calcutta Port Trust has been asking us to restrict the movement of heavy goods vehicles on it,” he added.

Making a presentation at the meeting, state traffic and transportation engineer B.K. Sadhu said more than 88,000 vehicles ply on the bridge daily, though its load-bearing capacity is only 60,000.

“Of the vehicles that ply daily, around 15,000 are goods-carrying,” he added.

It was also observed at the meeting that though trucks carrying goods up to 15 tonnes are allowed on the structure, vehicles with 12-18 wheels and carrying load up to 25 tonnes often ply on it.

Officials said the ban will benefit Posta-bound carriers coming from Delhi.

“Heavy goods vehicles are now allowed on Howrah bridge between 11 pm and 6 am. Once the ban comes into effect, the vehicles will enter the city through the Second Vivekananda Bridge and head for Posta via BT Road, which remains open to traffic virtually throughout the day,” said an official.