Brace for longer jams at railway crossings in Ahmedabad

  • | Friday | 22nd September, 2023

AHMEDABAD: A decision by the railways threatens to worsen traffic jams at some of the citys busiest crossings. People heading from western Ahmedabad towards Ashram Road may find frequent traffic snarls at Naranpura, Sanghvi, Vijaynagar, and Sarkhej road crossings as the railways plans to divert trains from Bhavnagar to the tracks passing through the city. Further compounding the problem is the unfeasibility of solutions like an underpass at these crossings. While the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had promised that the city will be free of railway crossings in five years, it is now certain that building underpasses at Navrangpura, Naranpura, Sanghvi, Vijaynagar, Sarkhej highway and Bhudarpura crossings - the busiest - cannot take place due to "several technical reasons". "The idea of underpasses at the five western railway crossings was dropped as they were not feasible due to several technical reasons," a senior AMC official said. The reasons range from road alignments to their proximity to other roads."For instance, the road at Navrangpura railway crossing forks, which makes building an underpass here impossible. A flyover above the crossing is not possible either, looking at the length and breadth of the road," the official added. In the past five years, the AMC has built over 10 underpasses, bridges and pedestrian subways over the railway lines passing through the citys western part, while more than five railway overbridges and more than five underpasses are being constructed.At least six railway lines pass through the citys eastern and western parts. They include Ahmedabad-Geratpur, Ahmedabad-Himmatnagar, Ahmedabad-Palanpur, Ahmedabad-Viramgam and Chandlodia-Khodiyar lines. The Western Railway recently upgraded the Ahmedabad-Botad line to broad gauge and now plans to link it to Bhavnagar, diverting incoming trains to Sabarmati for northward destinations. "The frequency of trains on this line will increase, with one train passing every one or two hours, causing large traffic snarls at the five western junctions," the official further said.Earlier, when the line was metre gauge, a train used to leave Sabarmati for Botad every day at around 11.30am, causing traffic jams at all railway crossings during the peak hours. To solve this problem, the train timings were changed, and underpasses were built at some railway crossings, such as Mithakhali village, Navawadaj Agyar Mata Mandir, Arjun Ashram, and Jalaram. Work is also underway to construct railway overbridges at Vastrapur Butbhavani and Torrent Power crossings. However, the Botad-Sabarmati train failed to get enough passenger traffic even after the broad gauge conversion, and complaints of jams remained. So, the railways decided to short-terminate and originate the train from Gandhigram. In future, as train movement on this line increases, people will have to wait longer at crossings such as Navrangpura, Vijaynagar, Sanghvi and Naranpura, which already witness long traffic jams when these are closed once or twice a day.

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