RTR flyover finally inaugurated officially

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (UNI) The Rao Tula Ram Marg-Palam flyover -- the last stretch of the access-controlled Delhi-Gurgaon section of National Highway 8 -- was officially inaugurated today, over a week after irate commuters took it upon themselves to open the stretch for traffic.

The flyover was inaugurated by Union Shipping, Surface Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu, in the presence of Delhi and Haryana Chief Ministers Sheila Dikshit and Bhupendra Singh Hooda respectively. Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh and Outer Delhi MP Sajjan Kumar were also present.

Responding to questions why the opening of the flyover was delayed, Mr Baalu denied it was due to the non-availability of any VIP to undertake the inauguration, and said they were waiting for the completion of the mandatory safety checks.

''It is not that every project has to be inaugurated by a VIP...

many officials also routinely inaugurate projects,'' he said.

On safety measures and facilities for pedestrians on the stretch, he asserted they had been taken care of. Over 60 people had been killed on this route while trying to cross, in face of the fast-moving traffic.

Ms Dikshit and Mr Hooda, interacting with mediapersons, hailed the flyover as leading to a lot of ease for commuters and also expressed satisfaction over the facilities for pedestrians.

On when the toll rates would be operational for the commuters, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Chairman N Gokul Ram said it was upto the concessionaire, DS Constructions, to decide when to start. The firm, which implemented the project on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, will maintain the project for 20 years, including the period of construction.

The 27.7-km route, stretching from km 14.300 to km 42 of the NH-8 (in Gurgaon) comprises nine flyovers, four pedestrian subways, and one foot over bridge. Another foot over bridge is being constructed, while six more -- at DSOI gate, Dhaula Kuan and rest in Haryana are planned for the convenience of the pedestrians.

Built at a cost of Rs 710 crores, the project was initially scheduled to be completed in July 2005, but got delayed to the complexities of implementation. Additional works of Rs 155 crores had to be ordered during the project implementation to cater to the needs of increased traffic on it. The multiplicity of agencies involved also contributed to the delay, while the construction was further slowed down due to the need to manage the existing traffic.

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