‘It would serve as an effective link between localities in East Delhi and the rest of the Capital’
Construction of an underpass below Vikas Marg through an eight lane divided carriageway
The project’s foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in July 2007
NEW DELHI: Commuters looking forward to barrier-free movement of traffic at one of the Capital’s busiest intersections at ITO-Chungi will now have to wait until July for the project to be completed. The ambitious underpass project undertaken by the Public Works Department has been delayed by over six months.
According to the PWD, the underpass would not only serve as an effective link between localities in East Delhi but also be an important link between East Delhi and the rest of the Capital given the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the location of the Games Village in East Delhi.
The Rs.73.7-crore project approved by the Delhi Development Authority in December 2004 and sanctioned by the State Government in September 2006 envisages construction of an underpass below Vikas Marg through an eight lane divided carriageway.
It also features building of four clover leaves for free right-turn movement apart from construction of two new slip roads including a cycle track and footpath for free left-turn movement from ITO to Geeta Colony and Akshardham Temple to ITO.
The project also includes improvement of existing slip roads for free movement of traffic on left -- from Geeta Colony to Laxmi Nagar and Laxmi Nagar to Akshardham. Not to leave pedestrians behind, three foot over-bridges across Pushta Road at Kishan Kunj, Lalita Park and towards Akshardham are also to be built as part of the plan.
“The main idea was to decongest the ITO Chungi intersection as traffic from four areas namely ITO, Gandhi Nagar, Laxmi Nagar and Noida piled up at the junction leading to a stoppage time of between 12 to 15 minutes as opposed to the normal stoppage time of three minutes. This would then inevitably choke traffic on connecting roads and lead to further congestion especially during office hours,” a PWD official said.
“To change all that we brought in this proposal which would make all four left turns between these four areas signal-free through direct ramps and make all four rights turns also barrier-free through use of four separate clover leaves,” he added.
Thus, with the underpass in place all existing right turns on the main intersection would be closed with only straight traffic on the main road -- from Laxmi Nagar to ITO and vice-versa being allowed.
The traffic turning right would instead use the slip roads to reach their respective clover leaves and finally take the underpass to reach their destination. Straight traffic between Noida and Gandhi Nagar too would be through the underpass, eliminating the mandatory red light presently in place.
“This way all three possible traffic movements of turning left, right and going straight from are made signal-free,” added the PWD official.
Incidentally, though the project’s foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in July 2007, the project suffered a major delay of at least six months caused by the shifting of water pipelines for the Sonia Vihar water treatment plant and two major Delhi Jal Board water pipelines to allow for construction work in the area.
Moreover, delay in finalisation and implementation of the traffic diversion plan owing to the heavy traffic volume affected caused a further setback to the project’s execution schedule. Resultantly, the original completion deadline of December 2008 for the project had to be extended to June 2009. However, going by the latest estimates provided by the PWD officials, the revised deadline now stands at July.
The PWD official said: “The slip roads for left turn from Noida towards ITO and from ITO towards Gandhi Nagar are already open to traffic and we hope to open the slip road for left turn from Laxmi Nagar to Noida also in about ten days. The slip road for left turn from Gandhi Nagar to Laxmi Nagar is also ready but would be made operational in the last phase of the project after construction of the underpass on Vikas Marg.”
“We plan to start digging work on the underpass by Tuesday after opening the straight traffic from ITO to Laxmi Nagar on Monday. Construction on two clover leaves from Laxmi Nagar to Gandhi Nagar and from Noida to Laxmi Nagar are 80 per cent complete and we plan to begin work on the remaining two clover leaves by June end after diverting the traffic. We are hopeful of opening traffic on all stretches by July this year,” he added.