Another step towards airport flyway
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has started work on preparing detailed drawings of a 14km elevated corridor from Barapullah near Thyagraj stadium to Mahipalpur bypass in south Delhi that is aimed at decongesting the areas around the eight government residential colonies that are being redeveloped by the Union government.
According to senior CPWD and National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) India officials, with the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) having approved the project in July, the approximately ₹5,000-crore plan will be sent for the final ratification by the Union cabinet.
The corridor was not part of the initial redevelopment plan for eight General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) colonies -- Kidwai Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammaddpur, Thyagraj Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Srinivaspuri---consisting of more than 25,000 dwelling units.
Besides helping manage the expected increase in traffic volume on Road Road and other arterial stretches around the redeveloped colonies, the six-lane corridor will provide direct access to Indira Gandhi International Airport for commuters travelling from south, central and east Delhi.
A senior CPWD official who is privy to the matter said, “We doing the detailing work, which includes preparing drawings of the corridor based on the approved alignment. This is done before we can float tenders for construction. The detailing work will take at least two-three months.”
According to the approved alignment, the road corridor will start from Barapullah flyover near Thyagraj stadium and pass by Aurobindo Marg, Brigadier Hoshiyar Singh Road, Africa Avenue, Vivekanand Marg, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj Road and Mahipalpur Bypass, and touch down at National Highway-8. The Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) was tasked with finalising the alignment and getting it approved from UTTIPEC.
With the Delhi government in the final stages of acquiring an 8.5-acre land parcel in the Yamuna riverbed which will pave the way for the completion of the extension of the Barapullah corridor up to Mayur Vihar, commuters from east Delhi will have an almost signal-free access up to the airport once the 14km corridor is also completed.
The approved alignments provide ramps for traffic to get on and off the corridor at INA Brigadier Hoshiyar Singh Marg, Africa Avenue, and Nelson Mandela Road. “Ramps have been provided to the corridor near all the residential colonies in the plans,” said a Delhi PWD official.
Earlier this year, the Union housing and urban affairs ministry decided that the cost of the corridor will be included in the total redevelopment expense that will be recovered from the sale of commercial space at a centre coming up at Nauroji Nagar.
A senior CPWD official said, “The corridor was not part of the initial plan which included redevelopment of eight government residential colonies. Cabinet approval will be needed to include this corridor in the overall project.”
A senior NBCC India official who is aware of the development said: “It has been decided that the cost of the project will be recovered from the sale of commercial components. The process is on to take necessary cabinet approval. The corridor will be completed along with the redevelopment of the colonies.”
With close to 25,000 dwelling units proposed as part of the massive GPRA residential project, traffic experts say the neighbourhoods will cause an unprecedented rise in traffic load on an already exhausted Ring Road.
Experts said the Ring Road has reached the saturation point in terms of traffic volume, and there was no further scope for road widening.
Sarvagya Srivastava, former engineer-in-chief with Delhi PWD, said, “The redevelopment of these colonies will result in tremendous increase in the traffic in the surrounding areas. The Ring Road is saturated and there is no further space for widening. This corridor is the need of the hour. As it will be an extension of Barapullah flyover, it will reduce the travel time, specially to those going to the airport, for thousands of commuters. Currently, all routes to the airport from south and central Delhi experience heavy traffic.”
A study by the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) on “accessibility to airports” in 2017 found that reaching Delhi airport is far more difficult when compared to travel to the local airport in other cities.
The study found the average speed in the 5km radius of Delhi airport is 16.1 kmph, and it increases only after 12-13km, and then remains constant till 20-22km.
Sewa Ram, head of the department of transport planning at SPA, who conducted the study, said the corridor or an alternate route to the airport is required as all the existing routes are already congested.
He also stressed on the need to upgrade the infrastructure on other arterial roads in order to avoid congestion in the future.
Sewa Ram said, “Barapullah is facing a congestion issue since the starting and end points have not been designed properly. At INA, where it touches down, road space is not sufficient for the smooth flow of vehicles. Similarly, the road network near Sarai Kale Khan was not planned properly.
“Similarly, besides developing the 14-km elevated corridors, the agencies should upgrade the surrounding arterial roads so that intended purpose is achieved.”