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Delhi-Gurugram commute: Delayed by a year, Ambience Mall underpass to open this week

After missing several deadlines, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to open the U-turn underpass at Sirhaul toll plaza near Ambience Mall on the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway to the public this week.

A longstanding demand of local residents, the 377-metre-long four-lane underpass will help commuters to avoid going to Rajokri in Delhi for taking a U-turn to reach Ambience Mall, DLF Cyber City and its adjoining areas. Currently, commuters have to travel an additional four kilometres to take the Rajokri U-turn, which during peak traffic hours can take an additional 45 minutes. The lengthy route also exacerbates traffic congestion at the Delhi-Gurugram border.

Covid, Labour Crunch Delayed Work

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which began constructing the underpass in January 2019, had set an initial deadline of 18 months for completion of the project but officials said the work on the underpass was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a subsequent shortage of labour, repeated bans on construction due to high pollution levels, waterlogging due to heavy rainfall, and the delay in shifting toll gates and other utilities.

On Sunday, an NHAI official told TOI, “Most of the work on the underpass has been completed and the remaining is being expedited. Only road carpeting is to be done, which is expected to be completed in the next few days. We hope to complete the construction by October 15.”
Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, during a visit to Gurugram in September to inspect the construction of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway, had announced that the underpass would be opened by October 15 and “will provide relief to people in both Delhi and Haryana”.

“The underpass is almost completely ready, only the wearing course remains to be completed in the box portion of the underpass. Apart from this, everything else, including signage and lights, has been completed,” another NHAI official said, adding that work to clean the underpass started Sunday.

The underpass is being built at a cost of Rs 102.94 crore, with the expenditure being shared by NHAI (50%), Ambience (25%), and DLF (25%). The structure is a part of a larger project to decongest the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway. A second structure planned as a part of the project — a U-turn flyover at Shankar Chowk — was inaugurated in November last year.

Ambience Island resident Partha Chatterjee said he had taken a house near the border to ensure that both Delhi and Gurugram would be easily accessible but crossing the border each day to commute to his office at Cyber City has now become a “nightmare”. “In fact, on many days I stay back in office until 9 pm just to avoid the traffic. This underpass will ease my life massively,” Chatterjee said.

Netra Rai, a resident of Sector 54 says the underpass will not just cut travel time to the Ambience Mall and also make it easier for those looking to return home by cab. “As of now, it takes me around 30 minutes only to get a cab from the mall because the apps mostly pick up drivers who are on the carriageway heading towards Delhi who are unwilling to pay toll, travel all the way to Rajokri and then come to pick passengers,” she added.

Source : TOI

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