City of Joy gets its longest bridge
It’s time to cheer! The city’s longest bridge will be functional from Friday. The 8.2-km bridge starts from EM Bypass near Spring Club and it ends at Park Circus seven point crossing after crossing the Parama Island.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday will inaugurate the bridge, which will reduce the commuting time between east and central Kolkata by more than half-an-hour. According to information, the commuters using this stretch will not have to pay any toll tax.
An official said it should take hardly 10 minutes to reach Parama Island from Park Circus through the flyover. It takes about 40 minutes now. From Friday onwards, the residents will have a speedier alternative. The city may also get relief from pollution.
However, the KMDA will not allow any heavy vehicles on this flyover after the 60-metre curved stretch of the Ultadanga flyover connecting the VIP Road to EM Bypass collapsed under the weight of goods truck movements.
According to an expert report, around 58,000 vehicles are expected to ply daily on this flyover. On the busiest days, around 5,260 vehicles will ply every hour. By the year 2028, the vehicle movement is expected to increase over 7,000, the report stated.
The project was taken up by KMDA in 2007. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 320 crore then.
Originally, it was decided that the existing bridge number 4 would be pulled down to set up a new bridge. But changes were made in the original plan. The flyover project has faced troubles ever since it started off. After much delay, the project finally got off to a start in February 2010. However, work speed up after the Mamata Banerjee government took over. After missing a few deadlines, the KMDA finally set a deadline of August 2013 but again it got stalled due to cost escalation.
There are two ramps of the flyover along New Park Street, one for vehicles headed towards Science City and another for vehicles coming from Science City. A police officer said the single lane will be meant for cars of people living along the road.
The construction work to extend this bridge further will begin immediately after the end of festive season. According to information, the project will take more than 20 months to complete. By 2017, it will just take 15 minutes to cross the six-and-half kilometres stretch from Bypass to Victoria Memorial.