To decongest Delhi roads,the 135-km Western Peripheral Expressway connecting Kundli on Delhis northern outskirts with Palwal in Haryana was set a new timeline on Friday. Work on the expressway,which has already missed several deadlines,is now targeted for completion by May 31,2013.
The new timeline was finalised at a meeting between Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Officials said the 52-km stretch between Manesar and Palwal will be opened to vehicular traffic within the next 100 days as 90 per cent of the work has been completed.
It was decided to complete the project by May 2013. We resolved all issues coming in the way of completing the project, Dikshit said after the meeting.
Concerned over the delay in commissioning of the expressway,Dikshit said that the air quality of the Capital was deteriorating due to the heavy traffic going through Delhi to other states.
The delay in commissioning of the Western Expressway may defeat the very purpose of the project, she said. The project was undertaken following a ruling of the Supreme Court.
The Delhi government has already paid over Rs 621 crore as compensation for land acquisition for the expressway.
The land acquisition cost for the project is being shared by Delhi,Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. As per the agreement,Delhi will incur 50 per cent of land acquisition cost while Haryana and Uttar Pradesh will pay 25 per cent each.
The meeting was also attended by Delhi PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan,his Haryana counterpart Randeep Surjewala,Supreme Court-appointed monitor for the project Bhure Lal,besides officials of the Transport Ministry,Urban Development Ministry,National Highway Authority of India and the concessionaire.
Hooda urged the concessionaire to amicably settle all issues with the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation which is implementing the project.
On Friday,The Indian Express reported that the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE),after being stuck for five years,looks set to take off with a longstanding debate over its classification finally resolved.
It is learnt that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee prevailed over Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to designate the 135-km peripheral road around Delhi as an expressway,which would involve toll rates identical to those for any national highway,rather than as a bypass,for which the toll would have been 1½ times as high.
The highways ministry has been directed to charge highway toll rates.
The resolution of the debate gives the two expressways equivalent status. Had the EPE been a bypass,its higher toll would have forced traffic onto the WPE.
The Eastern PE will connect Kundli to Palwal in Haryana through Ghaziabad,forming a ring with the Western PE between the same two points but through Manesar.
The twin expressways will allow traffic to skirt Delhi unless bound for the capital. The WPE project is being undertaken by the Haryana government which has awarded the contract to DS Construction.