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Expressway on the slow track

Delhi-Gurgaon 8/6-lane stretch may be costliest road ever built in country at Rs 1,000 crore.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2006 03:08 IST

The much-publicised Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has been making news for all the wrong reasons. The slow progress on the 8/6-lane stretch has been creating problems for motorists on NH-8 especially those who use the Rao Tula Ram (RTR)-Palam Junction throughway. Union minister for road transport and highways, TR Baalu, during his visit to the NHAI office in Gurgaon earlier this month said that the project was earning a bad name due to its slow progress.

The minister said that the delay was creating traffic problem for motorists using the Delhi stretch of the expressway that connected the domestic and international airports.

The National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) wants to wrap up the construction work as early as possible to avoid any further embarrassment.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) recently announced the opening of two toll-free flyovers on the stretch — Rajokari (Delhi) and Rajiv Chowk (Gurgaon) — as a face saving measure. The NHAI officials have promised to complete the project by December 2006.

The deadline for the project earlier was July 2005.

NHAI officials claimed that 71 per cent of the project was completed by May this year and rest was on the fast track. But the claims that work on the expressway will be over by December 2006 looks good on paper.

The project would not be completed in totality by the end of the year as the NHAI have clarified that the 1.8 km-long RTR-Palam elevated patch would not be ready before July 2007.

Which means the vehicles moving from Gurgaon to Delhi would be left with no other option but to slow down at the Palam Junction. Even the proposed 32-lane toll plaza at the Delhi-Gurgaon border would be made functional with 20 to 25 lanes only by December 2006.

And a substantial number of changes in the original design of the project have escalated the cost of the expressway from Rs 555 crore to around Rs 800 crore.
This is likely to cross Rs 1000 crores making it the costliest expressway ever built in the country.

Importance of project

Part of Golden Quadrilateral connecting Delhi and Mumbai.

Vital link between Delhi and Gurgaon.

One of the busiest corridors carrying more than 150,000 vehicles per day with
annual average increase of traffic at 7 per cent.

Signal-free access for traffic to IGI and domestic airports.

Changes sought by Delhi government
Flyovers at Rao Tula Ram (RTR) and Palam Junctions were converted into elevated highway combining both flyovers with up-ramp access from Vasant Vihar and signal-free access for traffic bound for the domestic airport in the Capital.

Defence installations on both sides of road demanded crossover facility. Thus the new design included an underpass and two steel foot overbridges.

Up-ramp for traffic from IGI Airport to Delhi.

Interchange at Kapasera for access to Dwarka City.

Changes sought by Haryana government

Increase in viaduct length of flyovers at Udyog Vihar and IFFCO CHwok junctions.

Addition of an underpass at Sector 31 Junction and increase in width of Jharsa flyover.

Hero Honda crossover bridge at Hero Honda Crossing.