The Ruby-bound ramp was closed for traffic from early morning as the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) worked to replace six bearings of the ramp. The ramp will reopen at 6am on April 27.
Motorists were taken by surprise as Ruby-bound vehicles from Park Circus were diverted towards Suhrawardy Avenue, Darga Road and Bridge No. 4 to take the Park Circus connector to reach EM Bypass. “Traffic movement was badly affected as many like me got stuck in the jam at Park Circus. We did not know about the closure of the Ruby-bound ramp,” said Jitesh Tiwari, a biker who was about to get on the Maa flyover from seven-point crossing. It took motorists 20-30 minutes to move from the crossing to the Park Circus connector.
As the day progressed, traffic congestion increased at Park Circus crossing and its adjacent roads, like Syed Amir Ali Avenue, Congress Exhibition Road and Darga Road. The scorching heat made matters worse for motorists, who had to wait in the snarl for a long time.
Signage were put up by the traffic police at seven-point crossing, informing Ruby-bound motorists not to take Maa flyover from and move towards Suhrawardy Avenue.
Ruby-bound motorists who got on to Maa flyover from the crossing had to come down, taking a left on the Chingrighata-bound ramp and were allowed to take a U-turn from Metropolitan crossing to get on the Ruby-bound flank of EM Bypass. Vehicles coming from the Science City-end, intending to take a U-turn, were first diverted left to the Beliaghata connecting road from Byepass Dhaba and then directed to take a U-turn to come back and get onto the Ruby-bound Bypass flank.
This traffic diversion created congestion on the Ultadanga-bound flank of EM Bypass from Science City to Metropolitan crossing as it took more than 20 minutes for motorists coming from Science City end to cross Metropolitan crossing.
“Today was the first day of the traffic diversion and motorists will get adjusted with it in a day or two,” a traffic sergeant said.
KMDA, the custodian of Maa flyover, will replace six existing bearings of the ramp with updated ones that can take on more vertical load pressure. Officials said that closing the ramp for 24 hours was necessary to carry out the work. “It would be unsafe to keep traffic open on the ramp while the bearings are replaced as many joints will remain open and any vehicular pressure could be dangerous,” a KMDA official said.
A bearing of a flyover or bridge structure is a resting surface between the deck slab and piers which helps to shift vehicular load from the superstructure in the top to the sub-structure in the bottom. “This helps reduce stress on the overall flyover structure,” said a structural engineer, adding that though a bridge bearing lasts for many years, with ever increasing vehicular load, the bearings should be ideally replaced every 10-15 years.
Though Maa flyover was inaugurated only about three and half years ago, KMDA officials felt that the increasing heavy vehicle pressure necessitated the Ruby-bound ramp to be strengthened.