Lakhs of commuters may get some relief from maddening traffic jams in coming months. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has put South Delhi’s five most crucial mobility projects–planned years ago for smoother rides–on fast track, Mail Today has learnt.
The party faces its big test in the Lok Sabha elections, likely in April-May, followed by next year’s assembly polls.
THE MAD RUSH
The construction of an underpass along Mathura Road at Ashram Intersection – one of the major traffic bottlenecks in Delhi – was mooted three years ago. The project, expected to be completed by March 2018, was delayed for want of money.
The Delhi government has given its financial sanction to build the 750-metre underpass between Nizamuddin Railway Overbridge and CSIR Apartments. This will be used by commuters between South Delhi and east Delhi/Noida, easing traffic load on Ashram Intersection crammed by 3,00,000 vehicles a day.
The intersection connects Mathura Road, NH-2 and Ring Road. Officials said the Rs77.92-crore underpass project will be completed in about a year. Kunal Singh, who works with a Central Delhi-based private firm, said commuting to office from his home in South Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar through Ashram Intersection is a nightmare.
“It’s the biggest challenge I face every day. I have been hearing an underpass is coming up. Once this happens, it will be a big respite,” he said.
First conceived in 2014, this 2.7-km flyover, to come up parallel to Rao Tula Ram Overpass, has missed many deadlines. The Rs 310-crore link between South Delhi areas (Munirka, Vasant Vihar, RK Puram and Palam) and the airport is now likely to be completed by March 2019. The project has seen many hurdles in the form of trees, water lines and heavy traffic.
“We are in last stages of construction after we expedited the work. We hope to open it by March 2019,” an official said. The PWD has asked the construction company to fast-track work after imposing a fine of Rs 27 crore for delays.
Businessman Vivek Srivastava is hopeful his woes will end soon. He budgets as much extra time as he can when he leaves his New Friends Colony home to catch a flight at Delhi airport. He cannot use Metro because of zero last-mile connectivity.
“I know I will get stuck at Army Research and Referral Hospital unless I am flying at night. The existing RTR flyover is one-way and it doesn’t help,” he said.
Stuck for nearly two decades, the Kalindi Kunj Bypass project may finally take off in 2019. The Delhi government’s PWD has decided to hand over the project to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
PWD failed to start the project because the Uttar Pradesh government objected to construction on its land. NHAI has received a no-objection certificate (NOC) from UP.
The 13.7-km long stretch, which includes a 5.7km elevated portion, is envisaged to decongest the ever-busy Ashram Intersection and Mathura Road by offering an alternative route between South Delhi and Faridabad. The Rs 1,584-crore project is expected to benefit Faridabad-bound commuters coming from New Friends Colony, Kalindi Kunj, Ashram, Maharani Bagh, Okhla and parts of Noida.
“We hope to finish the project soon,” said an official. Richa Singh, a non-profit firm employee, crosses the Kalindi Kunj stretch while commuting between her office in South Delhi and home in Faridabad. She hopes the bypass coming up parallel to Okhla Bridge is completed so that her daily traffic ordeal is over.
“One day, in 2017, traffic at Kalindi Kunj was stuck for 10 hours. The new link will be a respite. It’s also close to Metro,” she said.
ON FAST TRACK
Officials have put the Barapullah Phase-3 Elevated Corridor on fast track after it missed its October 2017 deadline. PWD officials said they have resolved issues like high-tension electricity wires and land acquisition holding up the work. The Rs 1,260-crore project was started in 2015.
PWD minister Satyendar Jain is learned to have asked officials to directly negotiate with farmers to purchase land patches. The project will link Sarai Kale Khan in South Delhi with East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar-1, reducing travel time by 20 minutes. “We’re hoping to complete the project by the end of 2019 or early 2020,” said an official.
The Delhi government has approved Nehru Place Bus Terminal’s development into what it calls a world-class infrastructure and floated tenders for the purpose. The plan is part of a proposal to modernise Delhi’s seven bus terminals.
“The present terminals don’t have basic amenities. They are poorly lit and have few shelters,” said Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot.