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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Pragati Maidan tunnel to be closed on Sundays for people to check out artwork inside

The 1.3km-long tunnel, constructed at a cost of Rs 920 crore, was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi last week.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 25, 2022 6:58:50 am
The 1.3km-long tunnel has murals that change every 250 metres. For this week alone, officials said, the tunnel will be closed for both traffic and pedestrians. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestions, the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) has decided to close the newly inaugurated Pragati Maidan tunnel for vehicles every Sunday and keep it open for pedestrians to enjoy the artwork inside the tunnel, said officials, adding that the tunnel will be closed for both traffic and pedestrians this week.

The 1.3km-long tunnel, constructed at a cost of Rs 920 crore, was thrown open to commuters last week.

After opening the stretch, the PM suggested that the tunnel be closed for four to five hours every Sunday and directed officials to organise a pedestrian visit for public and school children. “My eyes were drawn to the mesmerising beauty of the artwork. I walked for 10-15 minutes and enjoyed the murals which depict the culture, festivals and six seasons of India,” said the PM. “The tunnel should not only be treated as a stretch for the commute but also as an education centre and art gallery,” he said.

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Starting from Purana Qila near the Sports Club of India to Ring Road near Pragati power station, the country’s widest and first-of-its-kind tunnel has murals that change every 250 metres. “The tunnel was constructed to ease traffic as well as an alternative road to the Bhairon Marg. So, our plan is to keep it closed for vehicular movement every Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm for pedestrians to enjoy the artwork,” said LC Goyal, ITPO director.

Goyal said that the traffic volume remains low on Sundays as it is a holiday. “This week, however, it will be closed for both pedestrians and commuters as we will first take stock of the situation, monitor signages and if the lights are working and will make arrangements for pedestrians like parking, road crossing, and ensure seating and water facility,” he said.

Officials said, “To avoid pedestrian traffic on the main stretch and guarantee safety, the ITPO may outsource the management of the public visit to an agency.”

The tunnel was built to facilitate a smooth commute between Central and New Delhi and East Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Noida. It also provides seamless connectivity to India Gate, Supreme Court, ITO, Bhagwan Das road, and other parts of the New Delhi area. The tunnel is digitally controlled and equipped with CCTV cameras, a huge basement for parking to Pragati Maidan, fire safety management, a ventilation system, and two control rooms to monitor the traffic.

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“Since the tunnel will be closed on Sunday, all the five underpasses on Mathura Road will remain open for commuters to avoid any hassle, and they can also take the traditional route of Mathura Road in Bhairon Marg to reach their destination,” said officials.

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First published on: 24-06-2022 at 11:51:42 pm

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