Green tribunal asks PWD to rethink elevated road on Yamuna floodplain

ByRisha Chitlangia
Oct 03, 2022 11:54 AM IST

The AAP government proposed the project in its 2018-19 budget, in a bid to decongest the stretch between Wazirabad and the DND Flyway.

Four years after the Delhi government announced a project to decongest the Ring Road stretch between the Signature Bridge and the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway, the 18km elevated road has hit an environmental barrier as the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) principal committee has asked the Public Works Department to re-examine the corridor plans because a large portion of it is proposed over the Yamuna floodplain.

The elevated corridor will start from Wazirabad flyover and pass under the newly constructed Signature Bridge and then will be completely elevated till the DND flyway. (ANI) PREMIUM
The elevated corridor will start from Wazirabad flyover and pass under the newly constructed Signature Bridge and then will be completely elevated till the DND flyway. (ANI)

“Delhi PWD has been asked to re-examine the proposal,” an official of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) said, seeking anonymity. This was voiced at a meeting chaired by G Asok Kumar, director general of NMCG, on August 10, he said.

The project was proposed by the Aam Aadmi Party government in its 2018-19 budget to decongest the stretch between Wazirabad and DND flyway. In his budget speech, Delhi deputy chief minister and finance minister Manish Sisodia had said: “The travel time will also be reduced by 20-30 minutes after completion of the project.”

Also read: Over 10,000 evacuated as Yamuna flows above danger mark

As per the plan, a majority of the elevated corridor will be constructed on the Yamuna floodplain. The PWD has now started a ground survey to assess if the alignment can be reworked.

“There is not much scope to rework the entire alignment. We are just exploring the possibility if at certain locations the alignment can be pushed away from the floodplains,” a PWD official said, declining to be named. “We have started the survey 10 days back and will complete it by mid-October. The revised proposal will be resubmitted for approval.”

The elevated corridor will start from Wazirabad flyover and pass under the newly constructed Signature Bridge and then will be completely elevated till the DND flyway.

“The corridor will be constructed on the floodplains. We have also planned double-decker corridors at four locations for pedestrians so that people can get a view of the river,” another PWD official said. “At these locations, the traffic will ply at the top level and pedestrian space will be created below it. The project will cost around 2,500 crore.”

Ramps will be constructed to connect the elevated corridor with all major bridges over the Yamuna river, such as the Wazirabad bridge, Signature Bridge, Yudhister Setu, Salimgarh Bypass, Vikas Marg, NH-24, Barapullah Phase-3 and DND flyway, officials said.

The pedestrian and cycling tracks will be constructed between the Signature Bridge to Yudhister Setu, along Salimgarh Bypass, between Indraprastha Station to Pragati Maidan Railway track, and between Pragati Maidan Railway track to NH-24 crossing.

Also read: Delhi Metro: No direct services from Noida Electronic City to Dwarka till 2pm

Explaining the reason for the entire alignment on the floodplain, another Delhi PWD official said, “There is no space available along the Ring Road for augmenting its capacity. We couldn’t plan the alignment along the median of the Ring Road, as there are flyovers at many locations and the RRTS (rapid region transit system) alignment will be crossing the Ring Road near Sarai Kale Khan. The only possible option to construct the elevated corridor is along the floodplain.”

A spokesperson of the Delhi government did not comment on the issue despite repeated requests.

While transport planning experts admit that the Ring Road stretch between Wazirabad and DND flyway has reached its capacity, they said an elevated corridor might not solve the problem in the long run. There is a need to do a detailed traffic study of the area that looks at localized solutions, they said.

“There is no doubt that Ring Road capacity is saturated, and there is a need to look for solutions to augment it. There are several major traffic bottlenecks. This corridor will mostly be used by East Delhi or Noida bound traffic coming from North Delhi or GT Karnal Road. The corridor will provide connectivity at all the major flyovers on the river, but it will create a new traffic point where the traffic will merge,” said Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture.

“As the project is proposed on the floodplain, its impact on the river has to be examined in detail,” Ram added. “There is a need to explore localized solutions and traffic management plans to address each congestion point.”

With new developments coming up, the traffic volume is bound to increase on the Ring Road, according to S.Velmurugan, senior principal scientist, Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, Central Road Research Institute.

“Delhi now urgently needs a comprehensive mobility plan,” Velmurugan said. “These capital-intensive projects can’t be planned in isolation. There is a need to plan in detail about the infrastructure that will be needed in the long run.”

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