Delhi’s Ashram flyover, closed for renovation and extension for over two months now, was inaugurated by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday.
The long-delayed flyover project, on which extension work was being done to make the commute easier between Delhi and Noida, is expected to provide signal-free access from Noida DND to Lajpat Nagar and vice versa.
“Congratulations Delhi. New part of Ashram flyover ready, starting from today,” the chief minister wrote on Twitter.
“People will be able to reach AIIMS from Noida in a speedy manner,” Kejriwal said.
The flyover, which is 1.42 km long, will be opened to general people completely at 5:00pm on Monday by the Delhi traffic police.
The stretch between Ashram to DND used to face several hour-long traffic jams, Kejriwal said, adding that people will now be relieved from this congestion as three traffic lights on this corridor will be bypassed.
Public Work Department (PWD) engineer-in-chief Anant Kumar said that light vehicles will be allowed on the extended flyover for one month and heavy vehicles will be allowed after the completion of the pending work.
The extended Ashram flyover is a key bypass that will help vehicles to avoid using the busy intersection of Mathura Road and Ring Road, a junction frequented by at least 350,000 vehicles on a daily bases.
The flyover was shut from January 1, initially for 45 days, as authorities worked to link it with the extension a few metres ahead. After nearly 64 days, both the Ashram flyover and its 1.4 km-long extension to the DND flyway will once again be operational, cutting the travel time between the two points from over half an hour to 45 minutes.
The project was cleared by the Uniter Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (planning and engineering) Centre in 2017 and administrative approval of ₹129 crore was granted in 2019, said the PWD chief engineer, adding, however, the construction was started in 2020, but the project remained disrupted due to the pandemic and lockdown for 8-10 months.
“The final administrative approval of the project cost was ₹164 crore. Some components of the project were to be taken up by the NHAI [National Highways Authority of India] but PWD later took them over due to slow progress,” Kumar said.Kumar said that PWD has also developed a subway at the Maharani Bagh Ring Road stretch to facilitate pedestrian movement as a part of this project.
A senior PWD official overseeing the project said that the remaining work on streetlights, painting, streetscaping and signages will be completed over the next month.
According to the official, the flyover opening will not benefit the commuters coming from Sarai Kale Khan as the flyover up-ramp for traffic moving from Sarai Kale Khan towards Ashram has not yet been completed.
“Both the Sarai Kale Khan ramp and high tension wire relocation will take 30-45 days,” the official added.
Giving details of the pending projects which will be completed in the coming years, Kejriwal said, “15 more projects are in pipeline such as a six-lane flyover in Punjab Bagh which will be completed by December 31, 2023. Anand Vihar flyover will be completed by August. Mangal Pandey Marg flyover (Gagan Cinema), rotary at Shalimar Bagh, Maa Anandmayee flyover, East-West corridor, and North-South corridor among others, will be taken up by the government.”
The chief minister said that the government is also working on a plan to beautify the streets of Delhi and mechanical cleaning of the roads. “In the first phase, 1,480 km-long PWD roads will be cleaned. Beautification of roads is already being taken up. We have to make entire Delhi beautiful and congestion-free,” he added.
The six-lane flyover designed to resolve the congestion between the Noida and Ashram intersection was initially expected to be completed in 12 months with an initial cost estimate of ₹128.79 crore. However, ₹142.54 crore was spent on the project, according to department reports.
Even though the foundation stone for the project was laid by CM Kejriwal in December 2019, the work could not start owing to Covid-19 restrictions. The work on the project was once again disrupted during the second wave of Covid in April-May 2021 and winter construction bans.