Two forgotten roads to the rescue

New route out of Majerhat logjam

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 11.09.18
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MAKEOVER

Old Goragacha Road after its renovation
A portion of Hobokon Road that is still being renovated. (Bishwarup Dutta)

Calcutta: Two interior roads in the port area that had fallen into disuse have been made motorable almost overnight to give vehicles cramming into Hyde Road a shorter and less taxing diversion towards central and south Calcutta from Tuesday.

The new route, comprising the little known Hobokon Road and Old Goragacha Road, is part of the administration's strategy to create multiple distribution points to share the increased traffic load on Hyde Road since the collapse of the Majerhat flyover last week.

"Vehicles headed towards the city centre from the Majerhat side would need to take a right turn from Hyde Road a little north of the Jain Kunj crossing to hit Old Goragacha Road and Hobokon Road, both of which were not in a motorable condition until a couple of days ago," a police officer said.

The 1km stretch leads to Remount Road, from where vehicles can emerge untouched by the traffic chaos to reach the Ordnance Depot or Kantapukur crossing on Diamond Harbour Road.

An extension of Hobokon Road from its junction with Old Goragacha Road till the Jain Kunj crossingis to be renovated in a fortnight to create a separate entry and exit for the new route.

Hyde Road had been the only traffic link available since a portion of the Majerhat flyover caved in. The renovated stretches of Hobokon Road and Old Goragacha Road not only promise buses and cars an escape from the snarls on Hyde Road but also give police the leeway to allow goods traffic in the port area in the afternoon.

Since the bridge collapsed, buses and cars headed towards Esplanade, Alipore, Mominpur and Ekbalpore from Behala have had to take Taratala Road, Hyde Road and then Karl Marx Sarani to reach Kidderpore.

The surge of traffic had forced the police to stop goods traffic on these roads on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Trucks are usually allowed to ply between noon and 4pm in the port area on weekdays.

The route was opened to goods traffic on Friday afternoon, but not for the usual four hours. The curtailment led to a long queue of trucks forming at the entry points to the city and within the port area.

The backlog was cleared after the police allowed movement of trucks throughout the weekend. Fewer private cars during the bandh on Monday enabled the police to keep goods traffic open in the afternoon.

The plan is to revert to the old routine and allow truck movement for four hours in the afternoon from Tuesday.

"If we are able to divert a considerable amount of vehicles to the new route, Hyde Road will be less congested and that will be good for goods traffic in the afternoon," an officer said.

Stretches of Hobokon Road and Old Goragacha Road had been filled with mud, slush and craters till last week. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) started renovating the two roads four days ago.

"Our two asphalt manufacturing plants are making about 1,600 metric tonnes of bitumen every day. For the last few days, we have used nearly 700 metric tonnes on roads in the port area," said a senior official of the CMC.

The municipal authorities have requested the police not to allow trucks on the interior roads that have been newly renovated.

The police said they would be allowing only vehicles leaving Behala and headed north to take these roads.