The portion of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) near the Chipiyana railway overbridge has turned into a bottleneck for the past one week as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of installing a 115m steel span that will take the speedway over the Kanpur-Delhi railway tracks.
The steel span, assembled near the site itself, is the final piece of the DME and has taken much longer to complete although the high-speed corridor has been thrown open to the public long ago.
The congested section is part of the UP Gate-Dasna stretch of the 82km DME. While the whole expressway is six lanes wide, it shrinks to just four around Chipiyana bridge. Of these four lanes, two have been shut for the installation of the steel span.
Weighing 2,385 tonne, the overbridge is being billed as Asia’s heaviest. It is now being installed with the help of girders. Traffic, as a result, has been choking around the area and the tailback stretches up to a kilometre during the rush hours.
Commuters are bearing the brunt of it. “Driving on the stretch has become a nightmare over the past few days. There are jams till the ABES Cut from the Vijay Nagar side,” said Prabhakar Mishra, a resident of Wave City. “The carriageway from the Dasna to the UP Gate side is relatively better. But the other side is giving commuters a tough time,” he added.
Shankar Dayal, another commuter, said, “It takes around 30 minutes just to pass the railway bridge. When the DME was inaugurated, we were told it would bring down the travel time between Delhi and Meerut to just 55 minutes. Here, it is taking half an hour just to cross the 100m stretch.”
Officials expressed hope that the situation would start easing next month. “We have made significant progress in our work. In coordination with the traffic department, we have issued an advisory and are doing our best to minimise the trouble for the commuters. But this is significant work and will cause some inconvenience. Hopefully, it will be resolved by August 11,” said Arvind Kumar, the project director for NHAI.
Except for the stretch around the railway overbridge, DME is a smooth ride. In November last year, the Delhi to Hapur side of the corridor was opened. The next month, the entire 82km expressway was formally dedicated to the nation by Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, days after the farmers laid siege to the stretch at UP Gate.
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