On October 15, Delhi got its longest and most eye-catching pedestrian infrastructure: the Pragati Maidan-ITO skywalk. It was to help pedestrians get across the city’s busiest traffic intersection. On November 5, the Signature Bridge across the Yamuna also became operational.
India’s first asymmetrical cable-stayed link was to reduce travel time between north and northeast Delhi. But the Capital’s two new icons have quickly fallen to the same, old bottlenecks, an extensive ground report has revealed.
People are not warming up to the Rs 55-crore skywalk because of its “long and twisted” route and some “defunct” elevators. And motorists are forced to dangerously get across the central verge on the Rs 1,518-crore Signature Bridge due to insufficient exits.
The public works department (PWD) had projected that 30,000 people would use the skywalk every day. But the number is not even remotely close. Pedestrians told India Today TV’s team that they prefer crisscrossing high-risk traffic underneath.
“Yes, I didn’t take the skywalk because its route is long and twisted,” Said Dhruv. “I know I should have used the skywalk but I’m in a hurry and don’t want to miss my bus,” said Shrikant. Another pedestrian, Snehal, said the skywalk is a great initiative but she couldn’t use it as she suffering from arthritis and the elevators don’t work. PWD principal secretary Manoj Parida said, “Since ITO has been a very crowded place, people are reluctant to change their direction. But we’re planning to provide for volunteer assistants who’d guide people to take the right way and will ensure they use the skywalk.”
On the Signature Bridge, motorists complain that they don’t get a U-turn until Yamuna Vihar. Our team found a number of people crossing and jumping the dividers amid high-speed traffic. People were seen lifting their vehicles and crossing the central verge. “It’s so difficult to find an exit on the bridge. I crossed the entire bridge only to jump the divider later as I was getting late for work,” said Satish, a commuter. “We have to cross the entire Bhajanpura and Khajuri stretch to find a U-turn where there’s a lot of traffic, so more than half an hour is wasted,” said Himanshu, an engineer.
Parida said, “There are some teething problems in the project. We’re taking regular feedback and doing joint inspections with the traffic police. Based on the complaints, we’ll take necessary action.” Jointer Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar said “We haven’t received such complaints so far, but in case you have got specific information then I will instruct officials in the area to look into the problem. We will even write to PWD to increase the height of the central verge.”
The 675-metre, eight-lane carriageway also shares Wazirabad Bridge’s burden and connects Outer Ring Road on the Yamuna’s western bank with Wazirabad Road on the eastern side.