A major part of work to finish a road over-bridge above rail tracks at Dalkhola in North Dinajpur commenced on Friday.
For decades, the railway level-crossing at Dalkhola has been a nightmare for any person travelling to north Bengal by NH12. It would take three-four hours for a vehicle to cross a stretch of 4km at Dalkhola town because of the level-crossing.
Around 15 years ago, a proposal was mooted to build a flyover above the tracks for seamless traffic. The construction started but one of the principal works — placing iron planks along the flyover which would pass above the tracks — got delayed because of several technical glitches.
“Initially, there were some faults in the design of the flyover which the railways wanted to be rectified. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is executing the project, revised the design. In 2016, work started in full swing but even though five years have passed since then, the planks were yet to be placed above the track,” said a source in the North Dinajpur district administration.
In November last year, the planks were brought to Dalkhola and mechanical cranes were hired in January this year.
“Even then, the work could not be initiated because of problems in installing the cranes in a proper manner. Finally, the work started today to place the planks. It is a major development and we expect the flyover to be operational soon,” the source said.
On Friday, hundreds of curious residents gathered at the spot and the cranes were engaged to place the planks between two sets of pillars which are on either side of the tracks.
Om Bihari, a deputy general manager of the NHAI in Malda, said engineers of the NHAI and Northeast Frontier Railway were supervising the work.
For years, residents of North Dinajpur district had been waiting for two important projects to end traffic woes. The first was a four-lane road that would bypass the Islampur town along NH27 and the second is the flyover at Dalkhola.
“The bypass was opened just ahead of the Assembly elections. As most vehicles take that route now, traffic congestion and number of accidents have come down in Islampur town. Now, we are eagerly waiting for the Dalkhola flyover to open,” said Manash Dutta, an Islampur resident.