Delhi-Gurgaon Express to open on Jan 23

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) The 27.7-km-long, eight-lane Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, which will reduce the travel time between Delhi and Gurgaon to about 20 minutes, would be opened in its entirety on January 23, it was officially announced here today.

This was decided at a high-level meeting convened by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry here to review the progress of works and safety paraphernalia of the expressway on NH-8.

The meeting, convened at the directive of Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu, was attended by Road Transport and Highways Secretary Brahm Dutt, NHAI Chairman N Gokul Ram, senior officers of the ministry and representatives from RITES, the independent consultant, and DS Constructions, which was awarded the project for execution.

Mr Baalu is to inaugurate the expressway in the presence of the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Delhi.

Angry over the delay in opening of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and Palam flyover, members of residents welfare associations had ''inaugurated'' the project on Monday ''in the name of the common man.'' ''It is shocking that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and government officials willingly allowed people to suffer serious inconvenience and painful traffic snarls only for electoral advantage. This inauguration mania has to end and politicians have to be made to understand that it is our money that has made these flyovers possible,'' Mr Sanjay Kaul, president of United RWA joint forum (URJA), a collective of resident welfare associations, had said.

Protestors had placed a ribbon across the barricaded Palam flyover and cut it themselves.

While some NHAI officials said the selection of a "suitable guest" was one among the "formalities" holding up the opening of the completed expressway, the ministry said it was not fully satisfied with safety measures for it.

At today's review meeting, it was reported that the major works of the facility were completed on December 31, but some safety related components, such as provision of crash barriers, removal of scaffoldings at some locations, back-up power supply for street lighting and toll operations and system for operations and maintenance (O&M) of the corridor were not completed.

DS Constructions informed that the work is continuing - round the - clock to complete all the remaining jobs and assured to complete by this evening so that RITES could undertake the mandatory safety, reliability and integrity tests.

''Based on discussions and the commitment given by the Concessionaire (DS Constructions) during the meeting that all the above requirements would be satisfied by 23rd January, 2008, it was decided that Mr Baalu would open the highway on that day,'' a ministry official said.

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