Three new footbridges being built across the Eastern Drainage Canal will connect Salt Lake with Sukantanagar near Nicco Park and the Chingrighata intersection on EM Bypass.
The canal skirts Salt Lake along a 4km stretch from the sluice gate near Sector V to Chingrighata.
There are at present two bridges across the canal – one near Nicco Park and the other near Sukantanagar bus stop – but both are quite old and in a bad shape, said an official of the irrigation and waterways department, which is building the new bridges.
“We conducted a survey and found out that the old bridges are getting increasingly risky. So we will replace them with newer ones,” the official said.
The new bridges will be made of pre-fabricated steel units that can be joined together to form walkways. These structures are expected to last longer than the existing brick-and-mortar bridges, the official said.
The first of the new footbridges will come up near the new bridge that connects First Cross Road to the Salt Lake Bypass near the CRPF camp, the second one near Kendriya Vidyalaya No. II and the third near Shilpangan Light Engineering Park in LB Block.
Pedestrian channels have been created on the banks of the canal to streamline pedestrian traffic at the approach to the bridge.
“People often crowd the approach to the older bridges and even cross them on bikes and bicycles. We want to ensure that no one but pedestrians use the footbridges,” the official said.
The bank of the canal on the Salt Lake side has been beautified by the irrigation department.
The shanties that encroached upon the bank have been removed along with garbage vats. In their place, grass beds have been laid. A walkway has been built using interlocking tiles. The area around the canal has been lit up with high-mast, LED and trident lights.
“The canal has seen a change that we could not even imagine a few years back,” said Partho Chakraborty, an EE Block resident whose house overlooks the canal.
The bridges are expected to be in place in the next couple of months. The canal will soon be dredged and filled with water to eliminate a breeding ground for mosquitoes.