In a bid to bring in uniformity in speed for each and every category of vehicle plying on city flyovers, a uniform speed restriction has been put in place by Kolkata Traffic Police. This new speed restriction for longer stretches of the flyover comes as a welcome change from the arbitrary speed limit signs previously put up at every few hundred metres of the road. The decision taken by Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, came to effect from 8 June 2017. The new restrictions have been implemented at some of the busiest speed corridors – Vidyasagar Setu, Maa flyover, Basanti Highway – where the issue of arbitrary speed limit signs left motorists confused. At certain stretches the speed limit signs had read 20 kmph and jumped up to 40 kmph and again suddenly dropped to 30 kmph after a few metres. Many motorists plying on the route were left unaware of the specific speed limit of the stretches and at times were flagged down by traffic sergeants and penalised. Now that the new restrictions are in place, Kolkata motorists can finally breathe easy.
Vidyasagar Setu and Maa flyover
As a uniform rule for privately owned light motor vehicles, the maximum speed limit set on the Vidyasagar Setu and Maa Flyover is 60 kmph subject to 40 kmph for ascending the up-ramp while that for the bends and descending on the down-ramp is 30 kmph. The division of the flyovers into up-ramp, down-ramp and bends allows for a smoother transition of gears and maintenance of speed levels by the motorists. It also allows for rationalisation of speed limit which helps the authorities to improve upon traffic management.
On Basanti highway, in the entire stretch falling under the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police, motorists can go upto a maximum speed of 50 kmph. The only exceptions are market places and busy stretches that have a maximum speed limit of 40 kmph. Basanti highway is a tricky thoroughfare even for seasoned motorists and the revised speed limit will go a great length in curbing excessive speed and subsequently the risk of accidents on the highway.
The new speed restrictions adopted by Kolkata Police is a welcome change for the motorists who have been looking for a uniform and balanced speed limit for a long time. Even though the restrictions are welcome by everyone, complaints about it are still being voiced.“It is absolutely not possible to go down a flyover at a speed of 30 kmph. I understand the speed restriction at the bends but the down-ramp restrictions are impractical to say the least,” said Atul Khandelwal, a city motorist whose views have been supported by a lot of social media users from Kolkata while commenting on the public thread by Kolkata Police on the changing speed limits.
Even though there are some difference in opinion, the larger consensus remains that this move will finally bring an end to the confusion created by arbitrary speed limit signs; the city vehicles would course through an uniform speed and this would in turn bring down the rate of accidents in the city.