State government today finally decided to demolish the Tallah Bridge. At the review meeting on Tallah Bridge that was held in Nabanna, it was decided that the bridge will be demolished. There will be a joint inspection by the PWD and Railway and they will submit a report within 15 days. Further, it has been decided that the demolition will be done by a single agency. During construction of the new flyover, PWD will design the portion that is under its jurisdiction and the railway will design its portion. Keeping in mind the inconveniences caused to commuters, it has been decided that in case of a break journey in a government bus, the passenger will have to pay a single fare.
The review committee’s decision comes following a report submitted by the government-appointed consultant V.K.Raina, who was once a consultant to the United Nations and World Bank. He had inspected the bridge on 3 October and handed over his report to chief secretary Rajiva Sinha. In the report, he had described the condition of the bridge as “rotten” and expressed the fear that the structure might collapse any moment. Chaired by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, senior ministers namely mayor Firhad Hakim, transport minister Suvendu Adhikari and senior officials of transport and PWD were present in the meeting. Prior to this, RITES had informed the state government that the bridge was not fit even for use and had told the government that it would have to be demolished.
PWD wanted to seek a second opinion after RITES had submitted its report. The department then approached Mr Raina. An official said that the approximate time that would be required for demolition and construction of the new Tallah bridge was discussed at the meeting. Earlier, PWD floated a tender seeking agencies for conducting soil testing for the new bridge. It is mandatory to study the aspects of pollution in an event of the demolition of a huge structure like Tallah Bridge, a PWD official said adding that the demolition process is likely to cause air pollution and it may affect residents of surrounding areas, especially those living on the BT Road. The department is also considering to study the existing electrical and communication cables below the bridge to ensure that no service gets hampered due to the demolition, an official said.
The PWD department has already floated a tender for mapping the existing underground utility services below the bridge. Heavy traffic on the bridge has been suspended and traffic is being diverted through Belgachia bridge. However, with additional vehicles plying on Belgachia bridge for the last two weeks, the condition of this bridge has deteriorated. Thus, PWD has decided to conduct a health assessment study for Belgachia bridge. The diversions have resulted in huge snarls in surrounding areas such as Paikpara and Belgachhia. According to sources, it has been decided to construct two bridges as alternative to the Tallah Bridge on its right and left side.
These will head towards Galif Street and RG Kar Hospital. However the distance from the bridge where the alternate bridges are to be constructed would be decided following a survey. Again, the alternate routes and additional buses that can ply is also under active consideration. Commuters are being highly inconvenienced since buses were barred from plying on the bridge. The state transport department has decided to introduce another 100 additional buses for commuters who are facing inconvenience after the closure of Tallah Bridge. Commissioned in 1962, the Tallah bridge has strands of steel ducts supporting its underbelly. Engineers who inspected the bridge said many of the strands had snapped, which means they no longer have the ability to bear the load.