Groundwork begins on projects to unclog roads in city of snarls
After several infrastructure projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the city were announced in 2015, the groundwork for the projects started this year.
Work began on the three major underpasses that would ease the east-west vehicular movement at Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower crossing and Iffco chowk on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. Trenching started at the three sites in the first week of December. The construction company has also started barricading these sites. Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkari has set a deadline of 15 months from the day the work formally starts for the completion of the project.
However, the major challenge for the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), highway concessionaire, construction company and authorities would be managing the high volume of traffic and preventing gridlocks during the next two years when construction is in progress.
Anticipating jams at the three major junctions where underpasses would be constructed, the Gurgaon police will soon convene a meeting of officials of the NHAI, expressway concessionaire and operator, and state government departments such as the Huda, PWD and HSIIDC to roll out a traffic diversion and detour plan.
Police said the traffic advisory would be worked out collectively by all stakeholders to ensure smooth traffic at the three intersections for the next 15 months -- till February/March 2017.
“Since construction of all three crossings is going to happen simultaneously, the task of managing traffic on these locations becomes a daunting task for about one and a half years. This will be possible by the joint efforts of various departments and agencies. We will roll out a well-thought out traffic advisory for the commuters of this stretch,” Sandeep Khirwar, commissioner of police, Gurgaon, said.
The first proposal for the three underpasses project was floated by the NHAI in February 2015. However, there were several changes in the contract conditions and as a result, the work was finally awarded in September this year. However, due to delay in getting land and permission from forest department to cut trees, the work was further delayed.
The Northern Peripheral Road also known as the Dwarka expressway, which has missed seven deadlines since it was launched in 2006 was designated as a national highway by the union transport ministry. Consequently, the NHAI has started the exercise to connect this road with National Highway 8 at Shiv Murti near Mahipalpur in Delhi. Earlier, the Haryana government and the Delhi government were to get the project completed.
Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI said the authority is working with Delhi and Haryana governments to ensure the project is completed at the earliest. “Land has been identified in Dwarka and Bharthal villages and notifications have also been issued to acquire it,” Sharma said.
The NHAI has inspected the proposed section in Delhi and estimated that around 15 acres of private land would be needed. Most of the project land is owned by the PWD of Delhi. The NHAI initiated the process of land acquisition from private owners in April. The authority needs this land to connect a 4.4-km stretch between Shiv Murti and PWD land at Bharthal village.
U-turn at Sirhaul
Another key project in the pipeline is the elevated U-turn at Sirhaul toll plaza. The project has been approved by the NHAI, Huda and other stakeholders. However, the completion of this project depends on the transfer of eight acres of prime government land opposite Ambience Mall.
Yashpal Yadav, Huda administrator, said the authority is finding ways to get this land transferred to the Hdua but it is a complicated process. “There are three ways to get this land. Either we pay the cost, which is in hundreds of crores, or get this land on lease. Also, the state can award development rights in lieu of it. We will send the recommendations to the government for a final decision,” Yadav said.
One section of the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway became functional between Manesar and Palwal this year. Considering the importance of the project, the Haryana government allotted the work of the 83-km Manesar-Kundli section to M/s Essel Infraprojects Limited. The construction work for the 53-km Manesar-Palwal section was awarded to another firm - M/s KCC Buildcon Private Limited - Dilip Buildcon Private Limited (JV) in March 2015.
The revised deadline to complete the Manesar-Palwal section was decided as January 2016 and the Kundli-Manesar section by August 2018 but this deadline has been advanced to February 2017.
The rest of the road is expected to be completed in the next one and a half years as the work has been awarded to a new contractor. The project is being overseen by HSIIDC.
Apart from these projects, the union transport minister announced a slew of measures, which if delivered could help Gurgaon get rid of jams.
A pod taxi project, which will connect Dhaula Kuan and Rajokri on Delhi-Gurgaon border with Rajiv Chowk, and Subash Chowk on Sohna road has been announced by the NHAI. A number of stations have been proposed on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
Pod taxi is a pilot project announced by NHAI on the Right of Way (ROW) of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
Gadkari also announced a new access control highway between Delhi and Jaipur, passing through Gurgaon, which will enable commuters to cover the distance in two hours. Gadkari made this announcement on September 11, during his visit to Gurgaon to lay the foundation stone of the underpass project. This highway will cost ₹16,000 crore and work on it will start from January 2017.
If this project is delivered, a large majority of traffic passing to Gurgaon could shift to this road. The city will see lesser inter-state traffic, particularly of commercial vehicles.