New roads rise from bridge rubble

Route through thicket, canal and tracks

By Kinsuk Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 13.09.18
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Calcutta: Two roads linking Alipore with New Alipore are being built 500 metres apart to the east of the fallen Majerhat bridge as the search continues for faster alternatives to one of Calcutta's overburdened traffic corridors.

The new route cuts through a thicket, the Chetla canal and two pairs of railway tracks to create a southward extension of Alipore Avenue till Humayun Kabir Sarani in New Alipore. BP Poddar Hospital stands east of the junction.

The second road is about 500 metres west of Alipore Avenue, running almost parallel with the Majerhat bridge to hit Humayun Kabir Sarani near the Taratala mint.

The government has fixed October 8 (Mahalaya) as the deadline to complete the roads but officials of agencies involved in the project said they would need more time because of logistical challenges.

The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), Calcutta Port Trust and the PWD jointly inspected the construction sites on Wednesday to identify the potential hurdles and plan how to overcome them.

"A building on Humayun Kabir Sarani stands in the way of getting a clear width of seven metres for the road along Majerhat bridge. In our records, this is a leased property. One of the lease conditions was that in the event of any emergency, the occupants would vacate the property. This is an emergency situation," a port trust official said. "We will refer this to our legal section to handle it."

Hume-pipe culverts have been planned over the canal over which both roads will go. The width of each will be seven metres, flanked by 1.5-metre footpaths.The railway tracks beyond the canal will have level crossings.

The site of the road that will come up along the Majerhat bridge. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya

Eight posts along the railway tracks have to be shifted to extend the road being built parallel to the Majerhat bridge. For the other road connected to Alipore Avenue, three posts have to be shifted.

Senior officials at Nabanna, the state secretariat, said shifting the posts wouldn't be a challenge because the daytime frequency of local trains on that side was far less compared to other suburban lines like Sealdah-Ranaghat and Sealdah-Bongaon.

"We need to have a clear proposal from the government. The decision to shift the posts will have to be taken at the highest level," said Rabi Mahapatra, spokesperson for Eastern Railway.

Inputs will be required from the CMC's drainage section to ascertain the volume of water flowing through the Chetla canal that is connected to Tolly's Nullah. The canal passes under the Durgapur bridge before entering a cofferdam, which is a structure that retains water and soil. Cofferdams are commonly used for construction of piers.

Before the Majerhat bridge collapsed on September 4, it was the primary route for traffic towards Mominpur and Ekbalpore from the Behala side. Durgapur bridge, which vehicles headed for Chetla, Rashbehari Avenue and Gariahat still take, is creaking under increased traffic load.

Once the new roads are ready, Calcutta police will decide which of the two will be used for traffic approaching from the Behala side. The other one will be for vehicles going towards Behala and Thakurpukur.

"Vehicles arriving on Raja Santosh Road from Behala might be diverted towards Keventer Agro Ltd to the right, from where they can take Durgapur Siding Road along the Majerhat bridge to proceed towards Mominpur," an officer said.