The Centre has approved the construction of a vehicular underpass on the Patiala-Rajpura road in the Urban Estate meeting a relentless demand of area residents.
The decision has been taken to compensate the residents for the loss of their existing inter-sector connectivity due to the ongoing widening of the Zirakpur-Patiala highway (national highway-64).
The densely populated Urban Estate is located on both sides of the highway on the city’s outskirts. However, their present connectivity, provided through highway dividers, was being hampered with the widening project.
This led area residents along with local legislator Brahm Mohindra to begin a protest for an alternate connectivity. A delegation, led by Mohindra, also met chief minister Parkash Singh Badal earlier this year after which the state government sent a proposal to the Union ministry of transport to provide an underpass to facilitate the residents. A central team then visited the site for inspection.
Confirming the development, chief engineer, Punjab public health department (national highway division) AK Singla, said that the permission to construct the underpass in the Urban Estate has been granted. “The construction will begin soon and is likely to be over by June next year,” he said. Mohindra told HT that it was a victory of residents’ relentless effort.
“The NH-64 widening project aims at ensuring smooth movement of heavy traffic, but at the same time the residents living along the highways cannot be ignored. The underpass was the only feasible solution for linking sectors in the area,” he added. The underpass will cost approximately Rs 14 crore, it is learnt.
The Urban Estate, with a population of over 50,000, is spread over three phases, with phase 1 on the left side of the highway and phase 2 and 3 on its right side with small colonies and villages on both sides.
Surjit Singh Bassi, member of the area residents’ coordination committee, said that they were relieved with the construction of an underpass. “The road widening work had hampered their inter-sector connectivity which, we hope, will be restored with the underpass now,” he said.
Another major problem, residents said, was the heavy traffic on the highway for which the underpass was very important so that area traffic can easily be moved without hitting the main highway. President of the Urban Estate Residential Welfare Association, RS Bhinder, also welcomed the decision.