Delhi’s South Campus skywalk likely to open next month
Various access points to the skywalk’s staircase were roped off, forcing pedestrians, including Delhi University students, to jaywalk on Benito Juarez Marg and San Martin Marg
More than eight months after the Rao Tula Ram (RTR) underpass on Ring Road was opened for traffic and over eight years after construction of the project began, the 670m-long skywalk, connecting Benito Juarez Marg and San Martin Marg via Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus Metro station, continues to remain out of bounds for pedestrians as authorities continue to work on the “last leg of construction”.
According to officials associated with the project, however, the skywalk may be opened for pedestrian traffic by next month.
A spot check by HT this week showed the gates of the skywalk (along the Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus Metro station) were locked and security guards deployed to prevent the entry of the people on the elevated section. Various access points to the skywalk’s staircase were roped off, forcing pedestrians, including Delhi University students, to jaywalk on Benito Juarez Marg and San Martin Marg.
Construction work, including painting, installing electrical fixtures, lightening and welding was being carried out. The site was littered with drums and painting material. There were no lifts in the shafts. Various bolts and glass panels were missing and the structure was held up with makeshift pillars at some spots.
However, an official at the site said that only “finishing work” is being carried out.
The Public Works Department (PWD) engineer in chief did not comment on queries related to the opening of the skywalk. An official on site, however, said that the work is almost complete and skywalk may open in next one month.
A security guard deployed at the site added that security has been tightened over the last few months. “Various fixtures, including bolts and metallic rods, were stolen over the last few months, that is why security has been ramped up,” the guard said, asking not to be named.
While the RTR project received the Delhi cabinet nod in 2013 and its construction began in 2015, the Y-shaped 1.2km-long underpass connecting the Benito Juarez Marg-San Martin Marg-Ring Road was finally inaugurated in July 2022. As part of the project, a skywalk starting from Benito Juarez Marg near Springdales School was also to be constructed, providing safe overhead Metro access to pedestrians in the DU South Campus area and Satya Niketan. At the other end, a 350m-long arm connects the Metro station and Ring Road with San Martin Marg via exit points near Northern Railway Eco Park and S Radhakrishan Marg. The skywalk also comprises a foot overbridge across the Ring Road for Satya Niketan residents to get to Chanakyapuri.
Residents of the area, meanwhile, say they have been awaiting the skywalk’s opening for several years.
“Besides providing shorter access to the Metro, it will help people cross the Ring Road safely. The work on this has been going on at a crawling pace,” Manisha Sharma, a college student residing in Satya Niketan, said.
Aayush Aggarwal, a resident who was visiting an eatery in the area, said that the RTR project construction has been a permanent fixture in the neighbourhood over the last decade. “The skywalk seems ready. People are not sure why it is still not being opened. It will ease up the lives of so many people,” he said.
After repeated delays and eight missed deadlines, the RTR underpass project was inaugurated on July 2, 2022 by the then PWD minister Manish Sisodia saying the skywalk was ready. During the inauguration speech, the minister said, “As a part of the project, a 670-metre skywalk connecting the two parts of the underpass on San Martín Road and Benito Juárez Road has now been built.”
The project was started in 2015 and the RTR flyover was opened in 2019 while the underpass was readied in 2022. The underpass is a part of the corridor improvement project of PWD, which aims to improve connectivity on Outer Ring Road from IIT to NH-8. It starts from just near Springdales School on Benito Juarez Marg and passes by a number of colleges and the busy Satya Niketan market, and then under the Metro station to the other side of Outer Ring Road.
DMRC did not comment on the matter despite repeated requests.