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Cabinet nod for expressway

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI, AUG. 30. Taking a "giant leap forward" in the infrastructure sector, the Delhi Cabinet today gave its approval for the "Elevated Expressway" on Ring Road, a brain child of the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit.

Brushing aside objections raised by the Public Works Department, the Cabinet approved appointment of global consultants in what could be the first major Delhi Government-private sector initiative in the infrastructure upgradation programme.

The project is likely to take concrete shape by the beginning of next financial year as the feasibility report is expected to be ready by January 2005. The Government is also toying with the idea of constructing this project on built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis in order to ensure its completion on time. The 48-km six-lane "Elevated Expressway" on Ring Road would integrate itself with the Metro Rail stations as well as the high capacity bus system in order to provide maximum advantage to the city commuters as well as motorist.

After the Cabinet's approval, Ms. Dikshit said: "This is a major step forward in finding a solution to the problem of congestion in Delhi as the flyovers and underpasses currently under construction would not fulfil the traffic needs beyond four to five years. The Elevated Expressway on Ring Road will not only ensure smooth commuting, but also take traffic off congested roads and provide people with a number of options."

The project, estimated to cost Rs. 2,635 crore, would entail entry and exit through grade separated inter-changes at multiple locations based on traffic patterns with a need to integrate with existing Ring Road flyovers, pedestrian underpasses and upgradation of the existing road network.

The elevated deck is likely to have full and semi-automatic toll plaza. In the context of Delhi, the major advantage of an elevated Ring Road is the minimal land acquisition required leading to reduced construction period and minimal traffic disruptions, officials said.

The six-lane road would have a 60-metre right of way. The project is likely to be completed within 36 months from the day construction is taken up. The elevated Ring Road project is likely to be implemented based on the concession framework used for the successful implementation of the Delhi-Noida Toll Bridge project.

The ambitious project is likely to be taken up and executed in a professional manner on the lines of Delhi Metro project. A special purpose vehicle is likely to be floated for the development of this project.

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