Passengers heading for the Old Delhi Railway station can soon expect a smoother and a quicker ride.
The Delhi government is considering construction of a tunnel to segregate traffic going to the station and those making their way towards markets in old Delhi.
Sources said the government came up with the idea of a tunnel after the proposal to construct a tram lines in Old Delhi area fell through.
The tunnel will start where Netaji Subhash Marg and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg meet.
“The existing main road (Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg) will be used by vehicles bound for the station. The tunnel will be used by goods vehicles bound for old Delhi markets such as Khari Baoli, Naya Bazar and Sadar,” said a senior government official.
Sources said government is consulting Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which had conducted feasibility study for trams in the area to decongest Old Delhi.
The tram project was shot down by the AAP government and since then it is considering different plans to decongest the area around the Old Delhi railway station.
“People often complained of missing their trains after getting stuck in jams on Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg. All kinds of vehicles converge there. Many vehicles are not bound for station but they have no alternative roads to go to the markets ,” said the official.
The government has already conducted meetings with railway authorities and DMRC to finalise the plans. Sources said, the railway authorities had proposed some changes in the traffic circulation plan.
Currently, the railway station is separated from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg by a boundary wall, which will be removed. All the structures adjacent to it —toilet blocks, portet shelter, underground tanks — will be relocated.
If approved, DMRC construct the tunnel that will take around two years.
DMRC had proposed a 4.3km tramline in the busy Chandni Chowk area out of which 1.6 km was to be elevated outside Old Delhi railway station.
The tunnel project will be part of the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Project. From 1908 to 1963, trams chugged amid tongas, cyclerickshaws and bicycles in Old Delhi.
Thanks to the Delhi Metro, footfall at Chandni Chowk and other neighbouring markets has increased 60-70% in the past few years. It is likely to increase further once the Red Fort station of Phase III is thrown open.