New Delhi/Kundli, April 22 : The Eastern Peripheral Expressway -- which is expected to provide major relief to Delhi from vehicular pollution -- is set to be completed in a record time of 500 days as against a sanctioned target of 910 days, NHAI officials said.
The 135-km Expressway will boast of many firsts including a closed tolling system in which toll will be collected only on the distance travelled and not on the entire length, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) Chief General Engineer B.S.
Singla told IANS.
There will also be provision for electronic collection of toll to ensure disruption-free movement of traffic.
"Apart from that, we have also installed weigh-in motion sensors on all entry points which will ensure that over-loaded vehicles are not allowed to enter the Expressway," he said.
Normally, weigh-in motion sensors are installed -- if at all they are -- at toll plazas when it is not possible to send the vehicles back.
But here, the sensors are installed at all entry points with two gates -- one leading to the Expressway and the other redirecting the vehicle if it is over-loaded.
"We have also made provision for parking of overloaded trucks where they can unload some of the cargo to satisfy the weight criteria and then move to the Expressway.
This is the first experiment of this kind," Singla said.
To check speeding, cameras have been put up every two kilometres.
"Over-speeding vehicles will be issued the challan at the toll plaza and the challan amount would be added to the total toll amount.
This will be a great deterrent to over-speeding," Singla said.
While some work is still to be completed on the expressway which connects Palwal with Kundli bypassing Delhi, the Expressway is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 29.
All NHAI officers that the IANS spoke to expressed confidence in completing the pending work by then.
NHAI Member (Public Private Partnership) Neeraj Verma said the Expressway will reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi-NCR by around 27 to 28 per cent according to a study.
"Also, we have made it a green highway with solar panels installed at various locations which will provide power to illuminate the underpasses below the Expressway," he said.
Also, there are eight solar power plants along the Expressway having a capacity of 4,000 kilowatt.
These plants will supply power to the grid and the amenities on the Expressway will take power from the same grid.
"So in effect we will produce the power that we consume and will have zero operating cost as far as power is concerned," Verma said.
He added that 33 per cent of the earth work on the highway was done using fly ash from coal power plants thereby compounding its contribution to reducing pollution.
Singla added that while Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari had ordered him and other officers to complete the work in 400 days as against the sanctioned target of 910 days, the team was able to finish the work in a record time of around 500 days despite several technical and other hurdles.
Gadkari's close aide Vaibhav Dange said this was achieved because of the personal interest Gadkari took in the project which also led to fast clearances.
"Every bill of the contractors was paid within 24 hours.
Extra manpower was deployed and work was done day and night to complete this project in the record time," he said.
"And it is not just about completing this in lesser number of days.
It's about the change in the attitude where now every stakeholder believes that it can be done," he added.
The 135-km six-lane access-controlled Expressway is built at a cost of around Rs 11,000 crore and will help decongest the national capital.
(Vishav visited the Eastern Peripheral Expressway as part of a press tour organised by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
He can be contacted at email@example.com)