Delhi: New RTR flyover to miss December deadline in 5th delay
First envisaged in 2014 at a cost of Rs 278 crore, the flyover’s original delivery date of November 2016 was pushed back to September 2017, then to March 2018, then to June, and finally to December.Updated: Oct 28, 2018 22:43 IST
One of the most critical infrastructure projects in the national capital — the 2.7km-long flyover that will run parallel to existing Rao Tula Ram (RTR) overpass connecting south Delhi and the airport — is set to miss yet another deadline.
First envisaged in 2014 at a cost of Rs 278 crore, the flyover’s original delivery date of November 2016 was pushed back to September 2017, then to March 2018, then to June, and finally to December. But with just 56% of the total work completed in over three years, officials in Delhi’s Public Works Department (PWD) are saying the project will be “nowhere near” completion in the next two months.
The department is now saying the rest of the 44% work will be completed by March 2019. The cost of the project, meanwhile, has escalated to an estimated Rs 310 crore.
The delays in the project have adversely affected the traffic in south Delhi, with the stretch from Munirka flyover to Vasant Vihar, RTR and Palam Road one of the biggest bottlenecks in the city, particularly causing inconvenience to people coming to and from Indira Gandhi International airport. “It [the flyover completion] will miss the December deadline. At least 75% construction should have been completed by now to meet the December deadline,” said a senior PWD official who asked not to be named.
The official blamed the delay on two reasons — Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), the agency which has been given the contract for the work; and heavy traffic flow on the stretch.
“The company HCC is facing financial problems and so is not able to carry out work in full swing. Then, there is the problem of traffic because we can’t completely close the road for construction,” the official said, adding that PWD asked the company to fast-track the work and had also imposed penalty of Rs 27 crore on it for delaying the project.
But a spokesperson for HCC denied that the company was to blame. “The project is running behind schedule for reasons beyond the purview of the contractor. In right earnest, the contractor is doing everything possible despite the challenges being faced,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
According to data from the Delhi Traffic Police, around 150,000 vehicles use the stretch during peak traffic hours in the mornings and evenings. In 2009, a 900m single-carriageway flyover was constructed at RTR junction. However, instead of easing commuter woes, it has only increased bottlenecks on the road, leading PWD to realise that the flyover was not wide enough and a parallel one had to be constructed to ease the traffic flow from both sides.
Another PWD official said the traffic starts bunching up at the foot of the existing flyover, while commuters try to manoeuvre on to the elevated road while avoiding construction blockades set up between the Munirka petrol pump and the Army Hospital at Subroto Park on National Highway 8.
“Out of 2.7-km length of the flyover, concrete slabs have been laid on 500m stretch measuring 40 spans of the under-construction bridge. It will take at least four to five months from now to complete the construction work. We are hopeful of completing the construction work by the end of March next year,” the official added.
Subhash Chand, the head of traffic engineering and safety division at Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said that the project was already 23 months late, and delaying it further would not only aggravate traffic problems in the area but add to the overall cost.“This project is so crucial to the city. It should be put on the priority list. Instead of a blame game, the government (department) should come forward, integrate all the resources, and make efforts to finish the work,” Chand said.
First Published: Oct 28, 2018 22:43 IST