July 15, 2008

Plan for 3 Tunnel Roads to IGI

By Dipak Kumar Dash

NEW DELHI: If an ambitious plan for easier access to IGI gets the nod, the fastest links to the airport for private vehicles could run below the surface. According to proposals of the Union ministry of urban development, four new roads to the airport are to be built, three of them underground.

Among the proposals is a tunnel between Vasant Kunj and the airport that will bypass the traffic intersection at Mahipalpur. According to NHAI officials, since the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway's foundation goes as deep as 20 metres, the tunnel will cross the expressway at least 30 metres below the ground. The Delhi PWD is reportedly carrying out a feasibility study.

The proposals aim to ensure smoother traffic flow to the international airport by 2010, take the unexpectedly high vehicular load off the expressway and to decongest the existing links to the airport.

According to estimates, the daily traffic flow at the domestic and international airports is approximately 60,000 passengers and it is expected to reach one lakh by 2010. "If the entire traffic comes on to the expressway, the situation would be nightmarish. As of now there is no other option but to take the expressway," said a ministry official.

Second proposal includes underpass to IGI Airport

NEW DELHI: The second proposal for a smooth passage to IGI Airport is to create an underpass for light vehicles from Shankar Vihar - situated between Palam crossing and Mahipalpur - to the airport. This will enable cars, two-wheelers and three-wheelers coming from RTR-Palam side to avoid coming all the way to Radisson crossing to take the airport road. The underpass will open on the airport side and a parallel link would run along NH-8 up to Mahipalpur crossing and would finally join the spinal road of the airport.

Another plan is to provide access to the airport for the traffic coming from Dwarka. As per the proposal an underground link would be provided for vehicles coming from Dwarka.

According to the last proposal, an underground service road would be constructed along the expressway (opposite Shiv Murti) for the traffic flowing from Dwarka, which takes the Kapashera road. The underground road will join the grid at Mahipalpur crossing and provide direct access to the spine road.

A senior NHAI official said a tripartite agreement between NHAI, Delhi and Haryana governments, restricts the construction of any alternate road or links that would affect the revenue of the toll road. "All these links have to get a go ahead from NHAI since these will pass through the existing expressway. The concessionaire has to be compensated for the revenue loss due to these accesses. But these can be worked out," he said.

The officer added that a few rounds of talks have already been held among the authorities concerned and the prospects of these proposals getting through are high.

Another official pointed out that the projected traffic volumes are such that there's no way but to build the proposed accesses. "As such the expressway is not meant for local traffic. So, to maintain smooth traffic flow we have to create new links and access to major destinations. These plans have to be implemented to ensure that the traffic flow is smooth. Any more delay will make things worse," he pointed out.

The defence ministry and AAI have to give their land for these proposed accesses. Sources in the urban development ministry said that initial talks for acquiring the land have begun.

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