November 6, 2018 1:51:47 am
As bobbing heads popped out of sunroofs of cars whizzing past Signature Bridge, which opened to the public on Monday after a long wait, Jitender Jha (50) cycled with his five-year-old grandson Basu across its length and breadth. While Basu marvelled at the cable-stayed structure, Jha, a construction worker from Khajuri Khas, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before. I wanted my grandson to see it on the first day. Maybe now he will understand a little about what I do.”
From two septuagenarians who saw the bridge being built from scratch to a family that showed up after a political scuffle made news a day earlier, day one saw the bridge turn into a tourist spot. Many rushed to take selfies against the view of the Yamuna on both sides and the under-construction viewing gallery, which is at least 40 storeys high.
“I reviewed the bridge personally at 10.30 am and 4.45 pm… traffic was running smoothly on the Signature Bridge as well as the Wazirabad Bridge which is usually very congested,” said Shurbir Singh, managing director of Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC).
Ravi Sharma (29), a Karawal Nagar-based businessman, was accompanied by a friend — on a video call. “We’ve been waiting for this bridge to open for eight years now. To go anywhere, I would take the Wazirabad Bridge which would mean losing at least an hour to the traffic,” he said.
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Even as the bridge was inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday, work on the viewing gallery is pending. “We hope to complete it by March 2019. The gallery will be able to accommodate 20-25 people in one go. This week, the bridge is open 24×7. After that, it will be shut from 11 pm to 5 am to complete the work,” said Singh.
The DTTDC is also working on a plan to introduce eating joints in the vicinity. “If that is approved, then washrooms will come up too,” said Singh.
On the name of the bridge, Singh said that from the day it was conceptualised, it was called Signature, “maybe because it’s a unique feature of Delhi”.
As labourers took a break from work on the gallery, visitors asked them to take their photos. Among them was an official from the Wazirabad water plant. “It was crowded yesterday and I couldn’t see it properly, but it looked beautiful so I have come today as well,” he said.
With their walking sticks in tow, Ishwar Chand Goswami (70) and Ram Saran Das (73) — residents of Ghonda — reminisced about the time the first makeshift office was set up near the bridge years ago. “Then came a generator and the machines… we wondered what they were going to build. Chhoti chhoti cheezein judkar vishal banti hain…,” said Goswami.
In a corner, Hrithik Singh (18) took photos of his friend Shakib Saifi (22) holding a bouquet of roses. “The flowers are for the bridge because we will no longer be stuck in traffic… I don’t need a girlfriend, I have this bridge which makes our area look posh. It’s like a scene from foreign movies,” said Hrithik.
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