The next time you head for the airport in rush hour, you can fly over the traffic chaos at the entry point and beyond even before you enter the aircraft.
A flyover meant to ease traffic bound for the newly built integrated terminal was opened two months in advance on Wednesday to help fliers hop over the VIP Road-Jessore Road bottlenecks on their way to the old terminals.
The right-turn flyover takes off from VIP Road just over 100 metres after the Kaikhali crossing. On descending from the bridge, passengers bound for the existing terminals need to take a left turn that will take them underneath the second hop ' an elevated road ' leading straight to the upper level of the integrated terminal.
Bidhannagar police said the flyover had shrunk the 1.5km distance from Kaikhali till the airport by half. The authorities have put up a barricade in front of the ascent to the elevated road to ensure that cars don't get on to it by mistake.
The road underneath the elevated route leads to both the old domestic and international terminals. The first right turn on that stretch would take a car to the domestic terminal. To reach the international terminal, one has to drive straight for another 200 metres and then turn right.
"Bidhannagar police requested us to open the flyover for passengers ahead of schedule. Now people coming to catch flights won't face any congestion (at the entry point and gate number 2.5)," airport director B.P. Sharma said.
The new flyover being one-way, the return route for vehicles won't change. But that lane is rarely congested, so outbound traffic is unlikely to run into a snarl until at least the Kaikhali crossing on one side and the Jessore Road intersection at the other end.
Metro has been highlighting how snarls on VIP Road and Jessore Road delay fliers and airline crew. There have been instances of up to 40 people missing flights in a day because of traffic congestion.
"Airlines routinely get calls from passengers stuck in snarls, requesting them to allow delayed boarding," said Captain Sarvesh Gupta, the chairman of the airline operators' committee of Calcutta airport.
Those coming to the airport to catch flights usually face two bottlenecks. The first is the crossing of VIP Road and the approach to the airport. The second one is a slip road to Jessore Road at gate number 2.5.
Most Jessore Road-bound cars and those coming from there towards VIP Road now use gate number 2.5, adding to the congestion that holds up fliers. The new flyover will spare airport-bound traffic the approach-road chaos but many might miss it for want of adequate signage.
"I didn't know that I could use the flyover to reach the domestic terminal. The signage should start much before the flyover," said SAIL employee Sadananda Dutta after reaching the airport on Thursday to catch a flight to Ranchi.