Skywalk, Minto bridge widening part of New Delhi railway station revamp

According to the plan, one of the carriageways under the Minto bridge -- from Connaught Place to the Civic Centre -- will be widened by three metres
The waterlogged Minto bridge has become synonymous with the failure of Delhi’s drainage network during monsoons. (HT Archive)
The waterlogged Minto bridge has become synonymous with the failure of Delhi’s drainage network during monsoons. (HT Archive)
Updated on Dec 06, 2021 06:47 AM IST
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The elaborate revamp plan for the New Delhi railway station will also include widening of the Minto bridge and skywalks near Ajmeri Gate to manage the increased traffic volume in the surrounding areas, officials aware of the matter said.

An official from the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) who asked not to be named said that the road owning agency has already prepared a proposal for the project.

A second official who is associated with the corridor redevelopment project stated that the traffic and transport interventions are likely to be completed by 2025. “We have taken approvals from 15 agencies, including DDA, municipal corporation, PWD, etc involved in various aspects of the project [revamp of the station] and are awaiting the final approval from UTTIPEC (Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure Centre),” the official who also asked not to be named said.

According to the plan, one of the carriageways under the Minto bridge -- from Connaught Place to the Civic Centre -- will be widened by three metres. “The single carriageway at the Minto bridge is currently 14 metres wide and we plan to widen it to 17 metres. This will be carried out by using box pushing technique,” said an official requesting anonymity.

The Minto bridge, rechristened Shivaji bridge, was built during the British rule in 1926 as part of the realignment process of the railway line for New Delhi railway station. The waterlogged Minto bridge has become synonymous with the failure of Delhi’s drainage network during monsoons.

The official stated that the expansion work will be carried out by the railways but the maintenance of the bridge, including the drainage network, will continue to remain with the public works department.

The official overseeing the traffic and transport infrastructure plan finalisation stated that the traffic survey and mapping of the entire peripheral area around the railway station has been carried out to design specific interventions.

For instance, the skywalk at Ajmeri Gate junction has been proposed to connect the Gate number 3 of Metro station with both sides of Desh Bandhu Gupta road and Kamala market using two foot overbridges (FOBs) meeting at right angles. The skywalk will be further connected to the three arms of the FOBs with entry-exit points provided at Garstin Baston road and Asaf Ali Marg.

“Despite the increase in traffic volume, enough space has been demarcated to keep the region pedestrian friendly. The road right outside Gate 1 of the railway station will have a seven-metre-wide footpath and junctions have table top crossings,” the official added.

Currently, more than 450,000 passengers visit the New Delhi Railway station daily and over 170 million passengers annually. The projected increase in peak hour passenger volume (number of passengers at the station per hour) is likely to range from 45,000 to 55,000 in the next two decades.

Professor Sewa Ram, who teaches transport planning in the School of Planning and Architecture, said that they have carried out studies to ascertain accessibility and walkability near the New Delhi railway station towards Ajmeri Gate.”There are several problems in terms of accessibility in the immediate vicinity of the station. Agencies should learn from the interventions made around the IGI airport. The station redesigning should incorporate accessibility benchmarking as the influence area of the station extends up to ITO, Paharganj and Connaught Place,” he said.

Prof Ram said that the Minto bridge also acts as a gate for the traffic circulation and its widening may lead to faster movement of traffic and creation of new congestion point towards the railway station. “We need an entire transportation system management plan for the influence region with separate provision for segregated pick up and drop areas,” he added.

HT had reported in August that the RLDA plans to invite request for proposal (RFP) from nine firms for the redevelopment of New Delhi Railway Station (NDRS), India’s largest and second busiest railway facility.

The redevelopment plan, estimated to cost around 14,000 crore, will be implemented in two phases and will be based on the Centre’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy. Of the 160 acres of land where new developments have been proposed, work on around 85 acres will be taken up in the first phase at a cost of 6,500 crore.

In the first phase, the railway development body plans to construct a 70 metres high dome-shaped building (infinity tower), 40-storey twin towers and business district, providing office and commercial space, multilevel car-parking on either side of the station (Paharganj and Ajmeri Gate) for 5,000 vehicles, retail hub, pedestrian boulevard, etc. It will also upgrade the road network around the station.

The revamp of the New Delhi station, which handles approximately 450,000 passengers daily (160-170 million passengers annually), has been going on since 2007.

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