A series of complaints from readers and fellow motorists about misleading road signs on National Highways that connect the city of Kolkata with rest of the country prompted Team WHEELS to conduct a survey. The outcome would surprise many including the higher echelons of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Not a single road sign was found to be accurate. The motorists, either visiting or leaving the city would find themselves in a maze if they choose to follow these signs. Team WHEELS has identified the misleading signs. Read on and the next time you go on a long drive do remember to keep a copy of ‘Kolkata on WHEELS’ handy for ready reference The city of Kolkata is connected by 4 major National Highways (NH) as given below: NH-2: From Dankuni in Hooghly to Delhi NH-6: From Dankuni in Hooghly to Hazira in Gujrat via Maharastra NH-34: From Dum Dum in North 24 Parganas to Dalkhola in Uttar Dinajpur, West Bengal NH-117: From Jagacha in Howrah through Kolkata to Bakkhali in South 24-Pargana, West Bengal These highways have connected the city since ages. However, during our survey, we found the present highway signs mislead the motorists, both while entering or exiting the city, leaving motorists utterly confused Caution to outbound traffic from Kolkata Location: On Kona Expressway (NH-117) at Sheikhpara Carry Road intersection in Howrah The location of the overhead sign board is confusing. It has been put up almost 6 km ahead of the location where it should be - at Jagacha where Kona Expressway bifurcates into NH-6 and NH-2. The wrong positioning of the sign may prompt the motorists to take the immediate left or right turn from the next intersection at Carry Road in Howrah and end up in the interiors of Howrah instead of the highway. Location: Overhead sign on Kona Expressway (NH-117) at Jagacha in Howrah This is the last sign on Kona Expressway which forks into NH-6 on the left and NH-2 on right. Yet, authorities chose to highlight NH-117 on this sign board at the very fag end of the highway instead of NH-6 and NH-2 which should have been made more conspicuous to the motorists on the move. Are the words, ‘Thank you - Visit Again’ more necessary to be mentioned on this crucial overhead sign at this juncture instead of highlighting the two crucial highways NH-6 and NH-2? Location: Overhead sign on NH-6 near Salap in Howrah 'Burdwan'– a crucial location frequented by scores of motorists is missing on this signboard. Location: Milestone on NH-6 at Chamrail in Howrah The sign which reads ‘Kolkata 25 km’ is visible to motorists on their way out of Kolkata via Kona Expressway (NH-117). This would lead them utterly confused since it shows Kolkata 25 km ahead. It is more convenient to reach Kolkata by the reverse route via Vidya Sagar Setu and much shorter too. If the sign was meant for vehicles travelling to Kolkata from Kolaghat-end of NH-6, we feel, they should have been diverted into Kona Expressway (NH-117) instead of being diverted into Belghoria Expressway or Dunlop via Nivedita Setu on NH-2. Location: Milestone on NH-6 at Chamrail in Howrah Similar mistake; the sign ‘Kolkata 20 km’ directs motorists to Dunlop or Belghoria Expressway via NH-2 at the end of NH-6 though the reverse via Vidyasagar Setu would be much shorter. Location: Overhead sign on NH-2 near Dankuni The sign actually directs motorists to Burdwan and Delhi but has been hidden by the political banner. This was done in absolute disregard towards all road users of NH-2. Though it is the main connector for Kolkata to upper India, neither the organisers nor the authorities have cared to remove the flex even after the event was over (our survey was on 23rd November). Caution to inbound traffic to Kolkata Location: Overhead sign on NH-2 near Dankuni This is the most misleading sign to Kolkata. The motorists need to be cautious of this sign while approaching the city. This sign only shows the way to north Kolkata via Nivedita Setu and Dunlop while it should have also indicated south Kolkata towards the right via Kona Expressway and Vidya Sagar Setu. Almost all new motorists have been fooled at least once by this sign. Location: Sign board on NH-2 near Dankuni Same error as the sign shows ‘Kolkata’ only on left (that too if you can manage to see through the foliage). It should have also indicated Kolkata towards the right through Kona Expressway and Vidya Sagar Setu. Location: Milestone on NH-6 near Salap There is absolutely no mention of ‘Kolkata’ at all on the new milestones on NH-6 at the approach of the city. It appears NHAI considers ‘Kharagpur’ to be more important than Kolkata. Location: On NH-6, the entrance of Kona Expressway. Although this is the most common entrance to the city via Kona Expressway, no sign is present to direct ‘Kolkata’ anywhere. Location: Overhead on NH-6 near Salap Yes, at last ‘KOLKATA’ is indicated. We feel vindicated! Location: On Kona Expressway (NH-117) near Jagacha in Howrah This signs at Jagacha in Howrah reads ‘Welcome to the City of Joy KOLKATA’- 9 km before the actual city begins. And then the sign mentions ‘Joka / Diamond Harbour / Bakkhali’ – all indicated towards the right. It actually means Belvedere Road near Hotel Taj Bengal-Alipore Zoo across Vidya Sagar Setu. The sign is wrongly located; almost 10 km ahead of what should have been its actual location. If you follow this sign and take the next right turn at Lake Land Country Club intersection by mistake, you will reach Unsani and Andul in Howrah. Location: On Kona Expressway (NH-117) across Unsani at Lake Land Country Club This overhead sign mentions destinations which are quite far off – at least 9 km, beyond Vidyasagar Setu. There are at least three road intersections on Kona Expressway immediately after this sign, all of which will lead a motorist to the interiors of Howrah. Caution to inbound traffi c to Kolkata Location: Signage on NH-117 (Diamond Harbour Road) at Joka How does one enter into Kona Expressway from Diamond Harbour Road – since both are on NH-117, in absence of any road sign in the vicinity? The two signs marking NH-117 are located at a distance of approximately 20 km from each other at Joka and Howrah. And why suddenly the authorities thought about mentioning Babughat? Is it the most important place in Kolkata? ‘Kolkata’ is mentioned after ‘Babughat’ and ‘Kona Expressway’. Interesting! Are the authorities aware about the sequence to be observed while putting up road signs? The shortest distance should be mentioned on extreme left. According to this practice, ‘Kolkata’ should have been mentioned first on extreme left since Joka marks the outer limits of the city. Caution to outbound traffic from Kolkata Location: On VIP Road (Kazi Nazrul Islam Sarani) There is no mention of ‘NH-34’ on this huge sign – the main connector between Kolkata with north Bengal and eastern India. We failed to understand, why ‘welcome’ or ‘Public Works Department’ got priority over proper road directions? Location: On VIP Road (Kazi Nazrul Islam Sarani) near the entrance of Kolkata Airport ‘NH-34’ has not been mentioned. How would a motorist know that ‘Jessore Road’ leads to ‘NH-34’? Location: On Jessore Road (NH-34) near the entrance of NH-2 and Belgharia Expressway ‘Belghoria Expressway / Nibedita Setu / NH-2’ – all are demarcated in a most conspicuous manner but it's futile because the shanties obstruct the motorists’ view. Location: On Jessore Road (NH-34) near the entrance of NH-2 The mention of ‘NH-34’ was obnoxiously spotted on this faded milestone below Belghoria Expressway flyover. What a sign! We wonder how such bloopers are being overlooked by the authorities? Road signage, a scientific subject seems to have been reduced to child’s play, putting motorists in jeopardy. Unfortunately, authorities seem to be unconcerned to the dangers posed by the misleading signage. Our WHEELERS’ forum would surely take this matter up with the concerned authorities to rectify the glaring errors in signage on highways. In the mean time, if you are planning to go on a long drive, we simply wish you BEST of LUCK!