SEAMLESS DRIVE TO IGI: Restrictions By EPCA Cited As Latest Excuse For Delay In Never-Ending Project
Despite the hastened pace of work on the Rao Tula Ram flyover being built to replace the existing single-carriageway one, the drive to Indira Gandhi International Airport will not become easier till March next year. “We are working under anti-pollution restrictions enforced by EPCA and the deadline of December this year cannot be met,” said a PWD official.
Work on putting up the 77 inverted U-shaped pillars on the on 2.7-km stretch was completed in mid-September. “The time consuming work of erecting the base pillars is over. We have also been able to install the girders on 49 of the 77 spans and the bed casting work has been finished on 30 of the spans. We hope to finish the remaining work in four months,” the official added.
When TOI visited the site, the girder laying work had been completed up to pillar 39 and in some disjointed section ahead of that. Girders were already in place on the T-shaped pillars at the Munirka end, while heavy cranes were in full swing at the Army Referral Hospital end.
PWD officials explained that the work on the project gathered pace after the private construction company was penalised Rs 27 crore for the delayed schedule. The Rs 278-crore project — construction of which began in November 2014 — is already 23 months behind its original deadline of December 2016. The threelane flyover starts near Munirka petrol pump and slopes down to the Army Hospital. Once completed, it is expected to ease traffic from south Delhi headed for IGI Airport and Gurgaon.
Besides the flyover, PWD is also constructing an underpass from Benito Juarez Marg to San Martin Marg and Ring Road as a part of the traffic decongesting project. While the last remaining obstacle in the way of the underpass a dispute with Indian Railways over the clearing of high voltage powerlines — has been sorted out, traffic police has not permitted the excavation of the tunnel under Ring Road until the construction of the flyover is over.
The existing flyover, a massively congested structure with two single carriageways, is used by over two lakh vehicles every day. The lack of foresight in constructing a two-lane flyover in 2009 has created bottlenecks with vehicles stuck at the foot of the bridge trying to manoeuvre their way on to it.
As the construction moves into the final phase, traffic crawls below the portals and cars get stuck for long periods during peak hours. The traffic police even had to halt the traffic moving from Munirka towards IGI on Saturday morning to facilitate the construction work. Dust pollution too has become synonymous with the area.
Apart from the pollutionrelated restrictions currently in place, PWD officials familiar with the project cited many reason for the inordinate delay — from the time taken in getting permission to fell trees or to divert traffic to the delay in shifting of power and Delhi Jal Board lines. The court cases filed by residents of the area too added to the project time. PWD penalised HCC, the private construction company undertaking the building of the flyover, with a fine of 10% of the project cost of Rs 278 crore. This amount is among the biggest penalties imposed for delays in finishing infrastructure projects in recent years.