Though the North ROB was mooted as a troubleshooter to the city’s traffic woes, it looks like the congestion has reached its peak since the commissioning of the bridge last week.
With the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) deciding to close down the second and third lane of the four-lane RoB, the traffic congestion has reached its zenith.
According to commuters, the traffic jams near the bridge and nearby roads have doubled during peak hours. “Now, it takes at least another 10-15 min to reach our destination due to the traffic congestion,” said Nasir M, a frequent bus commuter.
Road blocks have become a serious issue at MG Road especially near Centre Square Mall and Shenoy’s theatre. Heavy traffic jams are also experienced at the narrow Paramara Road and private and KSRTC buses are diverted from Kacheripady Junction to enter the Town Hall side of the North ROB from here.
On most days, the traffic congestion reaches its zenith between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm. In morning hours, there is a long line of traffic from Palarivattom to the Town Hall between 10 am to 11.30 am. According to many, the bridge has become clogged after the two-wheelers and three-wheelers were given access through the North Over Bridge.
“The Metro Rail work is moving on full swing. Till now, only four wheelers were allowed through the bridge. Since only single lane roads exist on either side of the bridge, easy movement of traffic is restricted. The only solution is to widen the Kaloor and Madhava Pharmacy Junction stretch,” said Praveen, a KSRTC bus conductor with a KSRTC bus here.
However, many expresses hope that bottlenecks will be resolved once the roads on the opposite sides of the bridges are widened. “People have renewed their faith in the DMRC. If the DMRC could complete the work of the bridge in record time, we are confident that the widening of the narrow stretches of the Banerjee Road will be completed within the deadline,” said Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Residents’ Apex Council of Ernakulam (RACE).
Meanwhile, the DMRC officials have hastened the widening works at the Banerjee Road. “We are hopeful to complete the work by March. The traffic along the route is felt since the four-lane bridge narrows down to a two-lane road at the Lissie end and Town Hall end,” said an official with the DMRC.
On the closing down the two lanes of the bridge, the traffic police said the DMRC had sought their permission to close down the two lanes as they would begin the work of the Metro viaducts in the middle of the bridge. “The work will continue for two or three more months, so the two lanes would have to be closed. However, we have provided a 4.5 metre distance on the other two lanes to avoid any hassle for the commuters,” officials said.
Traffic West Assistant Commissioner Baby Vinod said they were aware of the traffic bottlenecks during the peak hours. “We won’t divert any of the vehicles now. However, alternative routes will have to be identified,” he said.