The ambitious Signature Bridge being built across the Yamuna is 75% complete and would be ready in 2015, a government agency has said. Once complete, the bridge will connect the eastern and western parts of the city.
First approved in 2000 to ease traffic on the parallel Wazirabad Bridge in north Delhi, the road bridge has missed several deadlines, escalating the cost from Rs. 459 crore in 2006 to Rs. 1,131 now.
The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) early this month informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that Rs. 800 crore had been spent on the bridge that is 675 metres long and 154 metres high and will have two carriageways of four lanes each.
The bow-shaped, cable-supported steel bridge — modelled on the London Bridge — is being built as a tourist spot in collaboration with Gammon and two firms from Italy and Brazil.
The DTTDC has also refuted allegations by a petitioner that no environment impact assessment study was done for the project and it never got environment clearance from the forest ministry, resulting in damage to the river.
“Traffic and environment impact assessment studies were conducted in 2004. In 2007, the forest ministry said no environment clearance was needed for the project,” the DTTDC has said.
“We also got clearances from the defence ministry, Delhi Metro, Delhi Urban Arts Commission, Delhi Development Authority and Archeological Survey of
India, and followed recommendations from the Yamuna Standing Committee,” it added.
On July 10, the NGT had asked the government to explain why the construction of the bridge should not be halted till “requisite green clearances for the project are obtained”. The tribunal will hear the matter next on September 17.
The existing two-lane Wazirabad barrage has been a vital link between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh areas for the last 50 years. Of late, there has been a tremendous rise in traffic on the road, far exceeding the bridge’s designed capacity. The new bridge is likely to provide relief to commuters (see graphic).
Flowing from north to south, the Yamuna cuts Delhi into two, which led to the construction of eight road, rail and Metro bridges across the river to connect traffic between east and west banks.
Two more Metro bridges are currently under construction.