A section of the Ultadanga flyover, which had collapsed six years ago, has developed cracks, and has been closed for traffic.
According to Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) officials, the cracks in pier cap of the flyover were found during a routine check on Tuesday.
Urging people not to panic, an official of the KMDA said, “The trouble point has been identified, and will be repaired. Till the repair work is completed, traffic police have shut the flyover for vehicular movement.”
“Both the flanks of Ultadanga New Flyover are closed for all vehicular traffic due to some urgent maintenance work as informed by the KMDA Authority. During the closure of the flyover, vehicles availing Ultadanga New Flyover are requested to avail other routes to avoid inconvenience in and around HUDCO crossing,” a Kolkata Traffic Police tweeted on Wednesday.
Sources in the city traffic police said that experts have advised them to keep the flyover shut for three days.
With the shutdown of the arterial flyover that connect Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and Salt Lake City to VIP Road of the city, commuters had a tough time on Wednesday due to slow traffic movement.
“Airport bound vehicles of EM Bypass are requested to take Chingrighata Flyover-New Town road. Airport bound vehicles may avail AJC Bose Road-APC Roy Road-Shyambazar point-RG Kar Road- Jessore Road. City bound vehicles coming from airport are requested to avail Newtown- Chingrighata-EM Bypass,” the Kolkata Traffic Police tweeted.
A portion of the flyover had collapsed in 2013. There was no report of casualty as the incident had taken during wee hours (4:30am) of a Sunday morning six years ago. Since the installation of the collapsed section of the flyover, heavy vehicles were barred from using the flyover.
An expert on construction of bridges, who inspected Ultadanga flyover on Wednesday, said, “Unlike other bridges, here the issue is not lack of maintenance. It’s not just a crack that has raised an alarm. I feel the construction quality couldn’t match the standard that it should have. We cannot forget that this bridge has already collapsed once, now it’s giving an indication that the entire bridge needs a proper health audit.”
After Majerhat bridge collapsed last September, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had set up a bridge inspection and monitoring cell to carry out regular inspections of the bridges in the state. At the same time, the Public Works Department, Irrigation Department and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority were instructed to have separate Inspection and Monitoring Cells.