Signature Bridge across Yamuna will be completed by October, HC told

Madhuri

New Delhi, Aug 18: The Delhi High Court was informed today that the long-delayed Signature Bridge across the Yamuna would be completed by October after which trial will be conducted.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao asked the authorities to file a status report while fixing the matter for November 14.

"List the matter in second week of November to enable the respondents (authorities) to complete the project and do the trial and file a report," the bench said.

The court was informed by the counsel for the Public Works Department (PWD) that the project will be completed by October and trial run will be conducted thereafter.

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The court had earlier frowned upon two city government departments for "quibbling over" the amount to be paid for the construction of the "long overdue" Signature Bridge.

It had directed the chairperson of the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC) and the chief of engineering of the PWD to physically inspect the bridge and the alternatives provided to the citizens to satisfy themselves about the construction.

The bridge connects Delhi with Uttar Pradesh's industrial areas such as the Tronica city in Ghaziabad.

The court was earlier informed by the PWD that it has already paid Rs 1,344 crore for the project as against the initially agreed cost of Rs 544 crore, and now the DTTDC was asking for Rs 200 crore more.

The DTTDC on the other hand had told the court that the cost of the project has escalated.

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The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Pratibha Chopra, who pointed to the inordinate delay in the project and alleged that the construction of the bridge had missed several deadlines since 2011.

Announced in 2004, the project received a nod from the Delhi Cabinet in 2007 and was initially expected to be completed at a modified estimate of Rs 1,131 crore by the Commonwealth Games held here in October, 2010.

In 2015, the cost of the project rose to Rs 1,594 crore. Reportedly, the bridge was proposed for the first time as early as in 1997 at an initial cost pegged at Rs 464 crore.

The Signature Bridge, when completed, is expected to share the burden of vehicular traffic which is being borne by the Wazirabad bridge, which itself, according to the PWD, requires "structural rehabilitation and strengthening".

According to the government, the bridge had obtained environmental clearance in 2011 and was set to be completed by December 2013.

The date of completing project was pushed to June 2016 and then to July 2017, which has been further shifted to December, 2017.

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