The bascule bridge on Garden Reach Road passing over Khidderpore Dock of Kolkata Port went out of commission from Tuesday morning, following which vehicles were prohibited from using it and movement of ships were also affected. As vehicular movement was disrupted, traffic police had to divert buses and other vehicles in the area. However, pedestrians were allowed to use the bridge on Wednesday.
The bascule bridge on Hooghly divides into two and rises up to allow ships to pass under it.
An official statement of Calcutta Port Trust said, “It was opened yesterday at around 10 am but it refused to close properly since one of the four locks under the bridge has gone inactive. Experts are working on it, hopefully it will be functional by tomorrow.”
Sources said after one lock became defunct, the bridge did not join properly and as a result vehicles were unable to pass through the bridge.
According to KoPT, the bridge often faces technical snags and to fix the problems permanently, the authorities will need six months. During this period, with cooperation from the traffic police, the traffic can be diverted, it added.
“We are ready for an alternate road. There are some encroachments on the dock’s east bound road. We have spoken to the authorities concerned, including police and KMC. An alternative road of about 3 km will serve the purpose of commuters for those six months,” said an official.
The Bascule Bridge is an important link between Garden Reach and Central and eastern parts of Kolkata. It provides better connectivity to the South Eastern Railway’s headquarters in Garden Reach and its central hospital.
Police said they were diverting the traffic through Remount Road, Coal Berth Road and Dock East Boundary Road.
“We have restricted movement of trucks leaving the port. Nearly 1,600-1,700 trucks enter and leave the port area to upload and offload goods,” said a KoPT official.
As per Kolkata Traffic Police officials, buses coming from Garden Reach side were being diverted to Khidderpore via Hide Road Crossing and Coal Berth Road. Private and small vehicles were being moved through Swing Bridge.
“These diversions will continue till the bridge becomes completely functional,” said an official.
The bridge was designed, fabricated and erected by M/s. Waagner Biro Bridge Systems AG of Austria. The bridge was commissioned in 1966. There are only two more Scherzer bridges in India. One bridge is at Mumbai Port, which has a single leaf, and the other is under Southern Railway between Mandapam and Pamban Island, known as Pamban Bridge.