Nearly a decade-long saga of commuters nightmare may finally come to end in June with the completion of a parallel flyover in national capital's Rao Tula Ram (RTR) Marg.
After missing several deadlines, the parallel flyover on Rao Tula Ram (RTR) Marg to ease traffic movement between south Delhi and Indira Gandhi International Airport may finally be completed in June. Launched in 2014, the flyover was to be completed in 2016, but it missed several deadlines since and gained notoriety for being the slowest constructed flyover.
As cost escalated and traffic volume grew, the one-kilometre stretch turned out to be a nightmare for motorists — because it was being built on Outer Ring Road and connected vehicular traffic between south Delhi and Gurgaon, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Gurgaon, and further on to Jaipur.
The construction work took up almost the entire width of the road. It was ill-equipped to shoulder the traffic load of over 2 lakh vehicles daily. The traffic snarls during rush hours had a spillover effect on connecting roads leading from Moti Bagh, RK Puram and Vasant Vihar that join Outer Ring Road.
This was not all caused by the construction company. Conceived by the Sheila Dikshit government, the RTR Marg flyover has been the subject of controversy ever since as a handful of notable Palam Marg residents, whose bungalows face the road, fiercely opposed the takeover of a service lane outside their homes for the flyover project. Due to this, the RTR flyover was reduced to a single carriageway, causing traffic gridlock and daily mess.
In 2010, Delhi's PWD built three flyovers between IIT Gate in south Delhi and NH-8 on Outer Ring Road. Barring the RTR flyover, the one's IIT Gate and Munirka had dual carriageways. Activism by residents from Vasant Vihar stalled the construction of a dual lane flyover and only a single carriageway was built.
When the matter came before the Delhi High Court, while hearing a petition by various residents' welfare associations of Vasant Vihar, the court made several observations pertaining to the delay in the construction of the flyover. It then ordered that the PWD go ahead with its project to build the flyover parallel to the one existing at RTR Marg on Outer Ring Road.
Since 2009, when the single-lane flyover came up, motorists have been made to struggle with the perpetual gridlock on the flyover, due to its poor design. Local residents of Vasant Vihar said the single-lane flyover was converted for the two-way traffic leading to traffic mess. The traffic queues have been so long that several commuters have missed their flights due to hour-long jams.
IANS, a PWD official said on condition of anonymity, "The parallel flyover at RTR is expected to be completed by June as all structural work has been completed. A test run will then be carried out to check any flaws in construction or signage. It will then be thrown open for the public."
He, however, said that the underpass at Benito Juarez Marg, Vasant Vihar, which was also a part of the project, will take more time to be completed.
Sources said that new flyover has already missed six deadlines and the revised deadline was May this year. Delays in getting clearances for tree felling, poor infrastructure support along the stretch and financial crunch faced by the contractor have been cited as the reasons behind the inordinate delays in the construction of the parallel RTR flyover. With the construction taking place at a snail's place, the project cost escalated from Rs 278 crore in 2014 to Rs 340 crore, a jump of 22 percent.
A new three-lane flyover parallel to a 900 m-long single-carriageway flyover on RTR T-junction was planned to ease perpetual traffic jams on the stretch. The parallel flyover begins near the foot of the existing flyover at Nelson Mandela Marg/Munirka petrol pump, and ends near the Army Hospital Research and Referral at Subroto Park.According to officials, the new flyover will be a portal structure in the shape of an inverted ‘U' which will have a nine-metre carriageway.