Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma announced on Thursday that a world-class Skywalk will be constructed to facilitate pedestrian movement from Khyndailad (Police Bazaar) to Barik point, with an investment of Rs. 25 crore. The announcement was made during the budget speech, where Sangma also stated that a comprehensive blueprint for tackling traffic congestion in Shillong had been prepared and would be implemented soon.
Comprehensive blueprint to address traffic congestion in Shillong
As an immediate measure to address the issue of traffic congestion in the city, the government has procured 30 buses under the “Shared School Bus System” at a cost of Rs. 10 crore. The state government also plans to improve junctions, augment parking, strengthen the public transport system, and introduce electric buses in 2023-24.
Rs 5,000 crore investment planned for ambitious project over next 5 years
Sangma further stated that the entire State Administration, including the Secretariat and the Directorates, will be moved to New Shillong, and all urban amenities like water supply, roads, power, and mobility will be planned accordingly. The preparation of master plans and DPRs has already begun, and express connectivity will be set up between Shillong and New Shillong to enable hassle-free mobility. The government plans to invest about Rs. 5,000 crore in this ambitious project over the next five years. Comprehensive exercises will also be undertaken to address congestion, waste management, and beautification of Tura, Jowai, and other urban centers.
The topic of decongesting Shillong has been discussed in the Assembly more than once, with several interventions being announced and suggestions being offered by the members of the House. On March 24, during the fifth day of the budget session, Nongthymmai MLA Charles Pyngrope asked if the “world class Skywalk” mentioned by the Chief Minister could help ease vehicular congestion. However, Pyngrope suggested the government convert the skywalk into a bus route by elevating the project on stilts to further ease vehicular congestion.
Deputy Chief Minister incharge Home Prestone Tynsong has agreed to take note of this suggestion. Earlier, Tynsong informed that the government has taken multi-disciplinary measures and an integrated approach to tackle traffic congestion and improve mobility and accessibility in Shillong.
The state government has conducted technical studies, integrated network planning, and mobility assessments to understand the root causes of the traffic congestion in the city. Based on the findings and inputs from various departments, a blueprint was prepared to decongest Shillong, which listed out short, medium, and long-term interventions to ease congestion. A multi-departmental committee was constituted, headed by the chief secretary, called the ‘Shillong Decongestion Committee’ to monitor the progress of the interventions listed in the blueprint.
The proposed Skywalk from Khyndailad to Barik point is expected to provide pedestrian access to various shops, restaurants, and other commercial establishments along the way. The Skywalk would serve as an alternative route for pedestrians and help reduce the pedestrian traffic on the roads. The project will be executed by the Urban Affairs Department.
Blue print to decongest Shillong lists short, medium, and long-term
The announcement of the Skywalk project and the measures taken to ease traffic congestion in Shillong have been widely welcomed by the people of the city. Traffic congestion is a significant issue in Shillong, especially during peak hours. The new measures announced by the government are expected to provide relief to the residents of the city and help improve the overall quality of life.
The construction of a world-class Skywalk in Shillong is a step in the right direction towards promoting sustainable mobility and reducing the carbon footprint of the city. The introduction of electric buses and the improvement of the public transport system are also positive steps towards promoting sustainable transportation.