Ten years after the Sister Nivedita Bridge was open to the public, daily traffic is still “far less” than the estimated target, a top official of the company that operates the brigde said today. “We had pegged the estimated daily traffic flow to be 1,45,000 PCU (passenger car unit – a unit of traffic flow measurement), but only 45,000 PCU is recorded every day,” Director (Corporate Development and Governance) of Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway Pvt Ltd, Lala K Roy told reporters here. “The daily traffic flow is far less than the estimated target,” he said.
The low traffic movement can be attributed to the lack of heavy industries in the state, he said. Roy said about 97 per cent of the vehicles plying on the bridge are local traffic, including trucks carrying commodities, while three per cent are inter-state vehicles, which needs to go up. “Now, we are making a very small margin of profit but we hope to better it in the next two-three years time, when there will be expected traffic growth,” he said. The official said out of the Rs 673-crore total investment for the bridge, Rs 250 crore was pumped through the FDI route, making it the “largest FDI in Eastern India in transport sector”.
To a question, Roy said there was encroachment under the bridge viaduct, with bus and truck stands coming up in the Dakshineswar stretch, which may cause damage to the adjacent pillars. “But you have to consider the issue from a human and practical point of view.” He said the company had submitted an estimate of Rs 8-10 crore to the National Highways Authority of India, four-five years ago, seeking additional protection to pillars. “But, nothing happened afterwards.” The 6.1-km, six-lane bridge connects major industrial areas and emerging townships.