Howrah City Police is to send a fresh reminder to the Mamata government to act on KMDA’s (Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority) makeover blueprint for the city that envisaged the setting up of an elevated road over Kona Expressway linking Vidyasagar Setu to Nibra crossing.
“When the (Kona) Expressway first opened to the public, it was expected to facilitate or handle the movement of around 50,000 vehicles per day. But, in the twenty years, the traffic count on the stretch has doubled making it one of the most accident-prone roads under our jurisdiction. We fear the traffic count going up still more once the new bus terminal at Santragachhi becomes operational. Hence, we’ve decided to put in a fresh request with the (state) government to implement the KMDA proposal,” a senior officer of Howrah City Police told HT.
In a presentation around five years back, the KMDA had voiced fears of the traffic count on Kona Expressway going up by a fair few notches in the subsequent years. It said more than 90% traffic on the Expressway move towards NH-2 and NH-6 that connect the Nibra crossing. The crossing is roughly 7.5 km away from Vidyasagar Setu. The agency had proposed an elevated road that would facilitate an easy and hassle-free movement of traffic between Vidyasagar Setu and Nibra Crossing and disrupt the commute to other destinations via the Expressway.
“KMDA, it seems, had called it right five years back, as the traffic count on the Expressway grew by leaps and bounds over the years and an elevated road to ease congestion is the need of the hour. The traffic scene could turn a whole lot messier once the bus terminus at Santragachhi opens,” the officer said.
Over the last few years, work has begun on several housing and infrastructure projects on Kona Expressway and many more are in the pipeline. The projects have seen a surge in movement of commuters from the city to places via the Expressway.
Among the flood of projects around the Expressway are Unitech Housing Project, Julien Day School, Usha Martin Academy, Kolkata West International City, a housing project by the Merlin Group that is currently in the works and the South City housing project. Then, the Santragachhi railway station and the bus stand right opposite to it add to the daily rush of privately owned and state buses to places in and around the Expressway.
“Our commissioner wrote to the (state) transport department recently, warning of huge traffic congestion and mishaps on the Expressway once the new (bus) terminal opens,” the officer said.