Seventy-two hours is all it took for the newly inaugurated Ring Road bypass to begin crumbling.
Built by the Public Works Department (PWD) at an estimated cost of R654 crore, the semi-operational stretch that leads to the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium — one of the main venues for the Commonwealth Games — has already missed two deadlines. It is running late by 10 days on the third extended deadline of August 31.
"The whole stretch is pockmarked with huge potholes from beginning to end. At some spots with improper lighting debris has been left unattended. It looks like a century-old road undergoing repair," said Ankur Verma (27), who works in Lajpat Nagar and stays at Civil Lines.
The three-kilometre segment of the stretch that currently connects Kashmere Gate ISBT to the indoor stadium at ITO was inaugurated amidst much fanfare on August 27.
The idea behind the project is to ease traffic on Ring Road and provide smooth passage from ISBT to Ashram.
"In just two days, the stretch has developed huge craters at the beginning of the bypass near the Swatantrata Sainani Smarak adjacent to the Hanuman Setu and at the end of the flyover near IP Estate. God knows how long it will before the whole things falls apart," Manoharlal Sachdeva (45), a resident of Chandini Chowk who operates an
electronics showroom at Maharani Bagh.
Traffic restriction on the Hanuman Setu has added to commuters' woes. "The Hanu-man Setu has been shut for traffic. One has no alternative but to take the bypass that will probably be choc-a-bloc with traffic like it was on Saturday evening when I used it. Why are they forcing us to use the stretch when it is yet to be properly completed?" said Renuka Jha (28), an engineer who lives in Geeta Colony.
Sources in the Delhi traffic police said the two-layered flyover is ill-equipped to handle the traffic flow of heavy vehicles that ply on it every day both ways from north Delhi.
"We have only opened the bypass on trial basis so as to ascertain the vulnerable spots. The operational part was completed during heavy rainfall and water seepage is responsible for the damage. We will lay three more layers on the existing two layers and work will be fully completed in the coming 10 days," said Rakesh Mishra, PWD's chief engineer.