No place for old flyover in Sealdah after Metro rail hub

A taller flyover will create road space on the ground and ease traffic congestion

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 18.12.18, 3:21 AM
  • Updated 18.12.18, 3:21 AM
  • 2 mins read
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The Sealdah flyover. The Sealdah railway station can be seen in the background Sanat Kr Sinha

The Sealdah flyover should be pulled down and a taller one built in its place for traffic to be able to move through one of the city’s most congested areas once the East-West Metro hub there becomes operational, a consultancy report has recommended.

RITES, the public-sector engineering consultancy that specialises in transport infrastructure, had been commissioned to work out a traffic-circulation proposal for Sealdah that accounts for the projected spurt in vehicular and pedestrian traffic after the East-West Metro station opens.

Sealdah is the midpoint of the East-West Metro line from Sector V till Howrah Maidan and the existing flyover will be inadequate to handle the rush of commuters, according to the study.

The suggestion for a new flyover comes with the specification that it should be taller than the one that was built four decades ago. The idea is to have vehicles pass under the flyover unlike now.

The draft submitted to the government recently was shown and explained to a group of senior officials on Monday evening. “This is just a draft, of course, and the state government has not committed anything yet,” one of those at the presentation said later.

The existing Sealdah flyover is shorter in height than other elevated roads in Calcutta because it had been planned with trams in mind.

Besides a taller flyover, RITES has proposed a ramp to take vehicles directly into Sealdah station from Rajabazar. This ramp will end on the first floor of the station. “If this works out, the ramp will become the primary route to and from Sealdah railway station. It will also help segregate train commuters,” a government official said.

Executing the plan will entail redevelopment of Sealdah station, the official said.

A second flyover has been proposed between the Rajabazar crossing and the AJC Bose Road flyover. For this one, the draft suggests construction on a single pier so that APC Road does not lose out on space.

A RITES official who had flown down from Delhi for the presentation said he expected the proposals “to be finalised in a month’s time”.

While the objective of the proposal to pull down the existing Sealdah flyover is primarily better traffic circulation, the condition of the structure isn’t great either. “The bearings of the Sealdah flyover need immediate attention. But starting repairs is difficult because of the shops that occupy the space below the flyover,” an engineer said.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee admitted after the collapse of the Majerhat flyover in September that several such structures in the city had long exceeded their lifespan. “We tried to repair the Sealdah flyover but there are markets below. Nobody is listening to us. Nobody is moving,” she said.