- Pragati Maidan Corridor has a 1.3-km-long tunnel and 5 underpasses
- Dedicated entry and exit points for Pragati Maidan have been provided in the tunnel
- The project was executed by the Delhi government's PWD
The national capital's first road tunnel in the Pragati Maidan area and its five underpasses, which were opened on Sunday after missing five deadlines, will give motorists relief from the traffic snarls in and around ITO.
The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, comprising a 1.3-km-long tunnel and five underpasses and built over four years, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
According to Public Works Department (PWD) officials, the integrated transit corridor will allow commuters travelling to India Gate and other central Delhi areas from east Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad to ditch traffic snarls at ITO, Mathura Road and Bhairon Marg.
"Now Connaught Place or India Gate-bound motorists coming from Noida or east Delhi will not necessarily have to go to ITO as they can use the tunnel and get a smooth ride to destination saving 10 to 15 minutes.
"Earlier, they had to face bottlenecks at ITO and Bhairon Marg while moving towards central Delhi areas. But with the opening of the tunnel, that will no longer be the case," a PWD official told PTI.
The construction work of the tunnel started in March 2018 and was scheduled to be completed by September 2019. The deadline was extended to June 2020 due to the complexities involved in the construction work.
The deadline was again pushed to December 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown and further extended to March 2022.
Officials said the delay was caused due to the lockdown and restrictions on construction activities because of increased pollution levels in the city.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor project has been built at a cost of over Rs 920 crore and funded entirely by the Central government.
The project was executed by the Delhi government's PWD.
The tunnel starts near the National Sports Complex of India at the Purana Qila Road and passes underneath the redeveloped Pragati Maidan to meet the Ring Road near the Pragati Power station.
The project also entails six underpasses -- four on the Mathura Road and two on the Bhairon Marg -- which will ease vehicular movement in and around ITO and Pragati Maidan. Five underpasses have been inaugurated and the opening of the sixth has been delayed by four to five weeks because of some pending work.
PWD officials said the tunnel is equipped with the latest technologies such as a digital control room with the facility of a public announcement system inside the tunnel.
They said seven underground sumps have been constructed to collect and drain storm water automatically to avoid any waterlogging inside the tunnel.
Welcoming the opening of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, Mayur Vihar resident Muskan Bora, said, "Central Delhi commuters face huge traffic bottlenecks at ITO, Ring Road, Mathura Road regularly. Opening of the tunnel will put an end to this."
Another commuter, Ashwani Tiwari, said, "The authorities should have opened it at least a year ago as motorists face traffic snarls in the region everyday.
Public welfare projects of should be prioritised."
PWD officials said nearly 100 CCTV cameras have been installed inside the tunnel for proper surveillance. Specially designed German-made exhaust fans have been installed tunnel for ventilation in the tunnel.
Dedicated entry and exit points for Pragati Maidan have been provided in the tunnel and the underpasses on the Bhairon Marg.
The road tunnel and underpasses have been decorated with artwork showcasing the Indian culture, birds and six seasons in different parts of the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.