Two years on, Delhi’s Ashram traffic plan stuck in paperwork

Around 300,000 vehicles cross the Ashram intersection every day, shows traffic police data.
Traffic jam at DND flyway towards Ashram, Ring Road and Barapulla in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)
Traffic jam at DND flyway towards Ashram, Ring Road and Barapulla in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Oct 15, 2018 08:10 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAshish Mishra

A plan to decongest the Ashram crossing — one of the busiest traffic intersections in the city — has been hanging fire since 2016 because projects to build an underpass on Mathura Road and extending the existing Ashram flyover on the Ring Road are yet to get financial approval from the Delhi government, according to officials familiar with the development.

In 2016, Delhi’s Public Works Department (PWD) announced the construction of a 750-metre underpass at the Ashram intersection for signal-free rides from Nizamuddin to New Friends Colony on Mathura Road. The cost of the project was approximately Rs 87 crore. The following year, PWD proposed the extension of the existing Ashram flyover till the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway to ease Ring Road traffic at a cost of approximately Rs 125 crore. Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) — the apex body for approving infrastructure projects in the city — okayed the underpass and the flyover extension in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

PWD officials say the underpass was to be completed by March 2018, but both projects are stuck due to “procedural delays”.

“We sent the preliminary estimates for the underpass project in early 2017 for financial approval. The flyover extension project was sent for financial clearance this year. Last month, we have again sent the estimates for the approval, and we are hopeful that this time it will be approved,” said a senior PWD official on condition of anonymity. After getting the financial approval, it would take at least one and a half years to complete the projects, if work for both begins and progresses simultaneously, PWD officials say.

Around 300,000 vehicles cross the Ashram intersection every day, shows traffic police data. Vehicular traffic in the area shot up after the DND Flyway was made toll-free in 2016 and with the widening of National Highway-24 in June this year. South Delhi-bound traffic from east Delhi and Noida uses this stretch.

The intersection connects Mathura Road, NH-2 and the Ring Road (linking Lajpat Nagar-Sarai Kale Khan and DND Flyover). During peak hours, massive traffic jams are common on Ashram flyover, especially on the carriageway towards DND Flyway.

PWD officials say the proposal to extend the current flyover will solve the congestion problem on Ring Road. The plan is to extend the existing flyover by constructing a 1.2km, six-lane elevated road, which will touch down at the start of DND Flyway.

The elevated road will split into two near DND, with one road going towards DND Flyway and the other towards Sarai Kale Khan.

PWD’s engineer-in-chief, Umesh Chandra Mishra, says, “I am hopeful that approvals will be given in one to two months. The work would begin on ground in six months after getting the preliminary estimates sanctioned.”

Sewa Ram, a professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), says, “The government should understand the importance of projects to decongest Ashram intersection. The stretch should be developed as freeway so that there is smooth vehicular movement. With such a bad traffic situation at Ashram, the access to medical facilities such as AIIMS gets affected badly.”

Despite repeated attempts by HT, the Delhi government’s finance secretary, Renu Sharma, did not respond. There was no response from PWD minister Satyendar Jain.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022