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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Signature Bridge to be transformed into a tourist hub

The nearly Rs 200-crore plan includes the construction of a recreational area consisting of an open-air plaza, eateries and children’s play zone on the western end of the bridge (towards the Outer Ring Road).

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2019 01:02 IST
Sweta Goswami and Ashish Mishra
Sweta Goswami and Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi’s iconic Signature Bridge will start hosting tourists inside a glass viewing gallery at an elevation of 154 metres from mid-next year.
Delhi’s iconic Signature Bridge will start hosting tourists inside a glass viewing gallery at an elevation of 154 metres from mid-next year.(Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)
         

Delhi’s iconic Signature Bridge will start hosting tourists inside a glass viewing gallery at an elevation of 154 metres from mid-next year under the Delhi government’s grand plan to transform the cable-stayed bridge into a major tourist destination for the Capital.

The nearly Rs 200-crore plan includes the construction of a recreational area consisting of an open-air plaza, eateries and children’s play zone on the western end of the bridge (towards the Outer Ring Road). It will also have toilet facilities and an adjoining parking space to accommodate around 100 vehicles, four officials working on the project said. A 300m-long pedestrian walkway will be constructed to connect this recreational area with the bridge’s existing sidewalk.

“We have just floated a tender for building an inclined ramp to the western approach of the bridge. Next month, another tender will be floated to develop the parking bay,” said Shishir Bansal, chief project manager of Signature Bridge.

The viewing gallery, which will accommodate as many as 50 people at a time, is being built at the top of the bridge’s pylon which -- at 154 metres — is twice the height of the Qutub Minar, one of the officials cited above said.

To reach the gallery, tourists will have to take an inclined lift from the base of the bridge, followed by three flights of stairs and then a vertical lift. The all-glass viewing gallery, which will offer a panoramic view of the river Yamuna and Delhi, will have four levels with a spiral staircase. It will take over an hour to transport people up to the deck, the officials said. Selfie points will be set up along the journey to the top.

“The first set of lifts, installed inside the legs of the pylon, will be inclined…. This has never been done before in India. Such inclined elevator is there in the Eiffel Tower in Paris,” said Arvind Singh, of Gammon India Limited, a private firm involved in the bridge’s construction.

However, engineers said one of the major challenges they are facing in the project is controlling the problem of excessive heating. “On a sunny day in summer, it can get as hot as 55 degrees Celsius inside the gallery as it is completely made of thick glass. The journey to the top is even hotter as the whole structure is made of steel, which gets heated in sunlight. So, the biggest challenge will be to find an economical and greener way of keeping the interior air-conditioned for visitors,” said an engineer who was working on the site when HT visited the bridge. The engineer said they are yet to come to a solution about the heating issue.

After missing the September deadline for completing the viewing gallery atop the bridge’s pylon, the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), which is executing the project, said the gallery and all four elevators leading to it will be ready by December, but will not be opened for the public for at least another four months. Opening the deck to public will be delayed as the model code of conduct for Delhi’s assembly elections (scheduled early next year) will come into force, which means work will be stalled for about two months.

The bridge, built at a cost of ₹1,518.37 crore and inaugurated for motorists in November last year, connects outer Ring Road with Khajurikhas and Bhajanpura in northeast Delhi.