Delhi-Meerut Expressway to open fully from April 1, no toll for a week
On April 1, phase 2 and 4 of the 82-km Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) would be open to the public helping to cut travel time from two hours to about 50 minutes, said officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). For a week after the opening, the authority will not charge users either till the Union ministry of road transport and highway approves the rates.
The DME’s 14-km phase 1 (Akshardham-UP Gate) and 22-km phase 3 (Dasna-Hapur) are already operational. The 19 km phase 2 links UP Gate and Dasna while the 32 km phase 4 links Dasna and Meerut.
“For a more efficient tolling system, we are currently testing the linking of automatic number plate reader (ANPR) to the FASTag system,” said Mudit Garg, NHAI project director. The ANPR is a system of high definition, high speed cameras installed throughout the DME that was meant to catch traffic violations. FASTag is a system that would enable digital transaction of toll. In February, the central government had made FASTag mandatory on all vehicles.
Commuters will have to keep in mind the varied speed limits, as decided by the local authorities. In phase 1, which is in Delhi, phase 1 has a limit of 70kmph, while it is 100kmph in the rest, which are in Uttar Pradesh.
Some work remains
The phase 4 is an access controlled six lane expressway and the work on all 55 underpasses along its length was completed. In phase 2, work on 17 out of 18 underpasses was completed. NHAI officials said the remaining underpass near ABES College will be opened in another week.
The NHAI has installed about 5000 streetlights on all four phases.
During a visit by an HT team, some of the stretches from Bamheta to Crossings Republic had non-functional streetlights at night, while jaywalkers at two major points near Vijay Nagar posed an accident risk.
“At Vijay Nagar we are installing 1.5-km long additional fencing (of five feet high) on either side to check jaywalkers. Some of the street lighting is still being tested and about 5-6 kms of our power cables were short-circuited after farmer protesters at UP Gate drew on it to run their gadgets. We have taken up the issue with the local administration,” Garg added.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said that he held meeting with NHAI officials and will take up steps to ensure that the DME gets operational without any hindrance.
“We will also ensure that there is no law-and-order situation at UP-Gate where farmers are protesting,” he added.
The DME will provide 14 lanes connectivity under phase 1 and 2 while six-lane expressway will start from Dasna under phase 4. The 14 lanes will comprise of three expressway lanes each side while the four outer lanes each side will be highway lanes.
“The work for a major rail over bridge will take some time and is likely to extend to December 2021. Otherwise, the other major works are complete, and commuters can move easily up to Meerut from April 1,” Garg added.
The March 31 deadline was set after ‘Pragati’ meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February.