The holding capacity of the bridge was 48,000 vehicles and the initial projection was to reach that traffic volume within 22 years from now, said S S Chakraborty, chairman, SVBTC and managing director of Consulting Engineering Services(CES).
However, with the current rate of growth in traffic, the figure should be reached much earlier, he added. He declined to give out any detailed projection, saying that it depended on the rate of economic growth of the region. The Nivedita Setu could carry 145,000 passenger car units(PCU) at its maximum capacity.
SVBTC expected a 10-15 per cent growth rate next year. With the roll out of the Nano from Tata Motors Singur plant, a further surge in traffic was expected. It had grown at a rate of 7.2 per cent in the first year of its operations.
The Nivedita Setu was a crucial link that completed a major circuit starting from the Kolkata Airport to Dankuni and further up to Bali and Chandannagar, as well as connecting Bardhaman and Durgapur to Kolkata.
With the upcoming health city in Bardhaman and township at Dankuni, the traffic flow was only likely to go up, Chakraborty said. The bridge and its adjoining network had reduced the travelling time between major points significantly. Salt Lake to Dakhineshwar now took 20 minutes as against an hour earlier. Bardhaman to Shyambazar, similarly now took 2 hours from 3.5 hours earlier.
Some of the commercial vehicular traffic on the Vivekananda Setu could also be diverted to Nivedita Setu as there have been recent congestions on that route at night. A major hindrance to this,however,was the higher toll rates at Nivedita Setu at Rs120 per truck as compared to Rs50 per truck on Vivekananda Setu.
SVBTC was constructing two additional ramps (E&F) at Dakhineshwar costing Rs10 crore to further ease the traffic flow along with a low level service road. These two single-lane ramps would be open within the next two months. Two more ramps were required at Grand Trunk road crossing, informed officials at SVBTC.
This apart, the consortium also looked at opportunities apart from the road transport sector, including airports, railway and port transit systems, elevated rapid transport modes, informed Ravindra Verma, managing director, SVBTC.
SVBTC is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by Larsen & Toubro(L&T), PASGIC along with engineering consulting firm CES. Pacific Alliance of USA and Stradec Group (Philippines) formed the PASGIC Group.