The Dwarka expressway will open to commuters in stages, and the 19km section in Haryana will be fully open by early 2023, not by the year-end as announced earlier, according to senior officials with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Currently, some sections of the expressway are in use by commuters. The next opening will be of the 700m-long bridges on the service road of Pataudi Chowk on both sides of the expressway that will allow commuters to bypass the busy junction. The cloverleaf connecting the expressway to the Delhi-Jaipur highway is likely to be ready by December.
“Our plan is to open the entire expressway by January or February, but it will not open at a go. Instead, we will progressively open it in sections, starting next week,” said a senior NHAI official. “The bridges on the service road at Pataudi Chowk are nearly complete. They will be thrown open in November first week,” the official added.
The official added that the road beneath the expressway up to Bajghera opened last May, facilitating movement for people travelling from Delhi and Bijwasan, and the under-construction cloverleaf near the Kherki Daula toll plaza would likely be ready by December.
The cloverleaf will have a circumference of two km and contain four loops that will enable movement towards stretches such as the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, Southern Peripheral Road (SPR), Central Peripheral Road (CPR), and the under construction Delhi-Mumbai expressway.
The Dwarka Expressway, announced in 2007, has been conceptualised as a northern ring road between Shiv Murti on NH48 in Delhi and Kherki Daula in Gurgaon. While 18.9 km of the expressway will be in Gurgaon, 10.1 km will be in Delhi.
The work on the Gurgaon section that started in November 2019 had an initial deadline of 24 months. But the work has been repeatedly delayed, with officials blaming suspension of construction due to delays in shifting utilities, land litigation, the pandemic, and construction bans amid high pollution levels. The project also got delayed due to the suspension of work for eight months after a part of the road near Daultabad Chowk collapsed in March last year.
The Delhi portion work commenced in September 2020 and is likely to be completed by mid-2023.
While several other road projects in Gurgaon are at a standstill currently due to imposition of GRA, which bans construction activities, work on Dwarka Expressway continues since highways are exempt from the rule.
Meanwhile, residents and commuters are treating the claims made by the NHAI with skepticism. “For several months now, we have been told that the entire project would be ready by December, but as the deadline has approached, the NHAI has pushed back the date suddenly. Who is to say this will not happen again? Of course, opening sections also will help ease traffic movement, but NHAI must expedite work and ensure the entire expressway opens sooner,” said Nishant Upadhyay, a Sector 84 resident.