Roads in Delhi are likely to be de-congested a lot and its perennial pollution problem might get reduced to a large extent with the opening of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) and the first phase of Delhi-Meerut Expressway on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 135-km EPE, connecting Kundli with Palwal, both in Haryana, has been built at a total cost of Rs 10,517 crore. It was first conceptualised in 2006 to divert the outbound traffic, not destined for Delhi with the twin objectives of de-congesting and de-polluting the national capital, without entering Delhi.
Currently, a lot of traffic, not meant for Delhi, has to necessarily pass through the national capital in the absence of any alternative route which could help them bypass Delhi. The six-lane EPE project starts near Kundli on NH-1, traverses to cross river Yamuna and ends at Palwal to join the Western Peripheral Expressway, the work on which is also nearing completion. The entire 270-km stretch would form a ring road outside Delhi for channelling non-Delhi bound traffic.
“Commercial traffic passing through Delhi will get diverted to the EPE and thus it will help in substantial de-congestion. The expressway will play a major role in reducing vehicular emissions in Delhi as it enables movement of vehicles outbound of Delhi without entering it. It is expected to reduce the vehicular pollution level by about 27.48% in Delhi,” road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.
Gadkari said a total of 1,700 ha of land has been acquired for the EPE project at a cost of about Rs 5,900 crore. The construction cost of the project is aboutRs 4,617.87 crore. The expressway has been completed in a record time of about 500 days against the scheduled target of 910 days. This project has generated employment opportunities of about 50 lakh mandays.
EPE is the first expressway in the country with solar power having been used on the entire length of 135 km. There are eight solar power plants on this expressway with capacity of 4,000 KW.
Solar power has also been provided for lighting of the underpasses. With 1,87,510 trees planted in the avenues and 72,786 trees planted in the median, the EPE has a total of 2,60,296 trees planted thereon. A total of 40 fountains have been installed on the expressway.
The 8.3-km first package of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, from Nizammudin Bridge to the Delhi-UP Border, has been built at a total cost of Rs 841.50 crore. It has been built in 17 months against the earlier expected construction period of 30 months. This is the first 14-lane national highyway in the country which includes a six-lane expressway.
The stretch has several features that would help reduce pollution. These include a 2.5-meter-wide cycle track on either side of the highway, a vertical garden on the Yamuna bridge, solar lighting system, watering plant through drip irrigation only. The foundation stone of this project was laid on December 31, 2015.