East-West Metro Tunneling at Dalhousie to put Traffic Nerves on Test

East West Metro KOLKolkata: Tunneling work for the East-West Metro project, which will finally start in next few weeks after months of wait, has pitted Kolkata Police against one of the toughest challenges the men in uniform have faced in recent times.

With Metro authorities asking for space at Dalhousie and Brabourne Road, cops are burning the midnight oil drawing the traffic management blueprint that will be followed for at least next three years. All stakeholders, like Kolkata Police, KMC, CESC, the transport authority and bus operators will meet on September 23 to chart out a future plan of action. Transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay will chair the meeting.

While Metro officials would like CTC and minibuses to vacate Dalhousie completely, police do not want the entire mini-bus stand to shift. “We will propose to keep part of the stand working because providing another option nearby is next to impossible. Rather, a fixed time will be allotted to these buses to pick passengers and leave,” claimed a senior officer.

Traffic police are also likely to quote a RITES report that had proposed reduction of the Brabourne Road sidewalk to 1.5 metre from 3 metre. It will affect quick dispersal of daily passengers who get off buses there.

The biggest challenge though would be to condense a 7-metre road to just two lanes and make arrangements to ensure vehicles can pass through Brabourne Road. “Once construction begins, there in no way we will get more than 7 metre road. Traffic movement is bound to collapse,” said a senior police officer. The police said that unless a chunk of vehicles from south Kolkata is routed through second Hooghly Bridge, the traffic situation will continue to suffer.

However, top cops argued that with Metro drilling underground, there’s little possibility that the entire stretch would get affected. “Metro has proposed the use of four imported closed-face ‘earth pressure balance’ tunnel-boring machines to bore two tunnels. Each machine is capable of boring about 15 metres a day. This technology will significantly reduce traffic disruption. To reduce inconvenience further, the earth excavated during the day would be transported out at night,” said an officer.

Even then, top officials refused to speculate. “We are aware of various challenges and are mulling alternate plans to try and ensure this important project is executed on time with least problems. All options will be discussed to find the best solution,” said DC (Traffic) Solomon V Neshakumar.