Delhi Tourism dept seeks approval to operate inclined lifts in Signature Bridge

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New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Delhiites will soon have a bird's eye view of the city from the 154-metre-height of Signature Bridge as the tourism department has sought approval from concerned authorities to operate inclined lifts installed in legs of the pylon of the bridge. Officials of the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) said that a glass facade (viewing gallery) has been built atop the bow shaped pylon - twice the height of Qutub Minar - of the country's first asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge. The height of Qutub Minar is about 73 metres.

They said that four lifts have been built inside the legs of the steel pylon of the Signature Bridge out of which two are inclined lifts and two are vertical. These lifts will be used to ferry visitors to the viewing gallery situated at a height of 154 metres. Selfie points will be set up along the journey to the top. The glass gallery can accommodate around 50 people at a time.

Officials said that though inclined lifts are operational in various projects, such as Eiffel Tower, in foreign countries across the world, it would be the first in India if permitted.

A senior official of the DTTDC, on the condition of anonymity, said that for quite some time, the department has been trying to seek no-objection-certificate from the electrical branch of the labour department of the Delhi government to start operations.

'We have again written to the electrical wing of the labour department last week and requested them to inspect these elevators to provide the approval. We have also requested them to suggest if any improvements are to be done or any conditions they want to add for the operation. Both types of lifts (inclined and vertical) are ready for operations but need proper approval from the department,' the DTTDC official told PTI.

According to DTTDC officials, tourists will have to take inclined lifts from the base of the bridge to the middle of the bow-shaped pylon. From there, visitors will interchange the elevators and board into vertical lifts that will take them to the glass box.

The all-glass viewing gallery will offer a panoramic view of the river Yamuna and the city and will have four levels with a spiral staircase. It will take about half-an-hour to transport people up to the deck as the speed of elevators will be very slow and only four people can be ferried in one lift in one go, officials said. 'Because of the peculiar nature of lifts installed the pylons of the bridge we have to ensure proper safety measures for visitors. We are also studying foreign models where such practices are operational. We will ensure that all international safeguards are followed while operating inclined lifts in the bridge,' the DTTDC official said.

Another official of the department said that lifts in the Signature Bridge have been installed after following all international standards but the labour department was not giving NOC due to inclined nature of lifts. Another challenge that DTTDC officials are facing is to come up with a solution to control the heat inside the glass facade. Officials said that since it is all made of glass so in summers on a sunny day the temperatures inside can go up above 50 degrees Celsius. 'We are studying all international experiments to come up with an eco-friendly solution to control heat inside the glass chamber. We are hopeful of finding the solution soon,' the official said.

The Delhi government's plan to develop the Signature Bridge and area around it into a tourist hotspot includes the construction of a children's play zone, eateries, open-air plaza, toilet facilities and parking space on the western end of the bridge near Majnu Ka Tila (towards the Outer Ring Road). A 300m-long pedestrian walkway is also being developed to connect this recreational area with the bridge's existing sidewalk.

'Work on the development of walkway, parking and cafeteria is underway and is likely to be completed by the end of July. We are also developing selfie points for visitors to make it a popular tourist destination,' an official said.

The Signature Bridge was built at a cost of Rs 1,518.37 crore by the Public Works Department (PWD). It was inaugurated for motorists in November 2018.

The bridge, which connects Outer Ring Road with Karawal Nagar and Bhajanpura in northeast Delhi, boasts of 127 strands of steel cables and is projected as India's first 'asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge'.

However, work on the construction of lifts and viewing gallery continued for more than a year. It was handed over to the DTTDC in 2020 for development of tourism activities. PTI AKM KJ

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