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Delhi’s Signature Bridge delayed for the fifth time, will miss March deadline

The project was conceptualised in 2004 and got Delhi Cabinet nod in 2007. It was scheduled to be completed before the 2010 Commonwealth Games but it missed the deadline, which was revised to 2013.

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2017 11:40 IST
Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times
Signature Bridge,NGT ban,Ban on construction in Delhi
When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came to power in Delhi in 2015, it promised to complete the bridge by June 2016 which was further extended to July 2017.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The much-awaited Signature Bridge, which will reduce the travel time between north Delhi and north-east Delhi, and Ghaziabad, will see a delay for the fifth time. This time because of the ban on construction activities by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) following severe levels of pollution in the city.

The project was conceptualised in 2004 and got Delhi Cabinet nod in 2007. It was scheduled to be completed before the 2010 Commonwealth Games but it missed the deadline, which was revised to 2013.

When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came to power in Delhi in 2015, it promised to complete the bridge by June 2016 which was further extended to July 2017.

In July this year, the Delhi government released ₹100 crore for the bridge and set a deadline of March 2018. But the officials of the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC) — the agency responsible for executing the project — now says that work cannot be completed before April 2018.

India’s first asymmetric cable bridge
Once completed, the Signature Bridge will share the burden of vehicular traffic currently being borne by Wazirabad bridge, used to commute to and from Delhi and Ghaziabad

According to sources in the government, the funds released could not reach the agencies engaged for the construction, on time, which also delayed the construction work of the bridge.

After pollution levels increased in the city earlier this month, all construction activities were banned across the national capital by the green court. “Construction of the bridge remained closed for around a week after the NGT orders which will affect the progress of the project. We will now be able to complete the construction work by April end next year,” Shishir Bansal, chief project manager, told Hindustan Times.

Bansal said that before formally inaugurating the bridge, a trial run would be conducted in May for around 45 days to “assess” the behaviour of the bridge towards the traffic.“We are hoping to begin the trial run on the bridge by May 15 which will be limited to the peak hours only for light traffic. Around 90% of work has been completed,” he said.

The project has missed several deadlines for its completion. First it was to be completed before October 2010 but was delayed because of hindrances like environmental clearance. It received environmental clearance in 2011 and then it was set to be completed by December 2013. This deadline was pushed to June 2016 and then to July 2017 and then again to March 2018. Now the construction it is expected to be completed by April 2018.

“It will be the fifth time when the project is going to miss its deadline scheduled as March 2018. After the trial run the bridge is expected to be formally inaugurated by September, 2018,” a government official told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity.

Once completed, the Signature Bridge will share the burden of vehicular traffic currently being borne by the Wazirabad bridge, used to commute to and from Delhi and Ghaziabad.

The bridge will connect the Outer Ring Road on the western bank with the Wazirabad Road on the eastern bank of the Yamuna.

It will reduce the time travel by at least half an hour for commuters going to Ghaziabad and Bhopura Border via Khajuri Khas, from Wazirabad, Timarpur, Mukherjee Nagar and Baurari.

To avoid heavy traffic at the existing Wazirabad bridge, the commuters at present prefer to reach Ghaziabad or east Delhi via either ISBT Kashmere Gate or ITO bridge.

COST

Constant delays also increased the cost of the project. Initially the estimated cost was of the project was ₹887 crore which increased to ₹1,131 crore in 2013. At present, the officials say, the cost of the project has reached ₹1,575 crore.

Being touted as a state-of-the-art bridge by the engineers associated with this project, the Signature Bridge will be the first asymmetrical cable stayed bridge in the country. A 675 metre long and 35.2 metre wide, the bridge will have a bow-shaped steel pylon with a height of 154 metres — twice the height of Qutub Minar.

The government has planned to develop businesses and tourism around the bridge as part of the second phase of the project.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 11:39 IST