NHAI Approves Delhi RRTS Rail Tracks Along NH

In a move to ease road traffic congestion in the National Capital Region and to facilitate early completion of the 111km Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat and Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) projects worth Rs53,500 crore, at reduced costs. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has in principle agreed to allow construction of railway tracks along NH-1 and NH-8.

Earlier, the NHAI was not willing to allow laying out railway tracks along the NH-1 and NH-8. The multi-crore projects will address the problem of shrinking spaces for creating new roads and highways.

This was decided during a meeting between NHAI Chairman Deepak Kumar and Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra. DDA Vice-Chairman Udai Pratap Singh and Managing Director of National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) VK Singh and senior officials of the Ministry also attended the hour-long meeting.

A ground survey for aligning the two RRTS projects has already been done by NCRTC and building them along national highways would significantly reduce construction time by over three years besides bringing down costs substantially since land acquisition would not be required, the official quoted Mishra as saying in the meeting.

NHAI and NCRTC would jointly prepare an action plan after examining the issues related to future expansion plans and possible congestion and the options to address them, the official said.

During the meeting, Kumar conveyed in-principle agreement about NHAI taking up execution of Urban Extension Road-2 project aimed at decongesting Delhi by connecting three national highways, the official said.A feasibility report in this regard would be prepared in a month’s time for further discussions. He suggested that the Ministry would have to share part of the costs involved. This will connect NH-1, 8 and 10 and a major portion of this road has already been completed by the DDA.

The Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat rapid rail corridor is expected to see a daily ridership of nearly four lakh. The Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar stretch is estimated to cater to seven lakh people. The project is expected to be completed within three years after award of contracts.

According to officials, the RRTS has several benefits — it will reduce accidents and congestion on roads, bring down pollution by reducing the number of private vehicles and for commuters it will offer safe, efficient and fast transport in the NCR. It will also bring about a dramatic shift in the share of public transport on the roads. The RRTS will have tangible savings in terms of fuel consumption and time. It is the long-term impact that it will have on the environment that has earned the approval of environmentalists as well as urban planners.

Of the 180.50-km-long Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar corridor, 124 km will be elevated and 56 km will be underground. There will be 19 stations, the first nine of which will be underground and the rest elevated. The design speed of the rail corridor is 180 kmph while operational speed is 160 kmph. The average speed will be 100 kmph. On the lines of the Delhi Metro, the RRTS trains will have comfortable air-conditioned cars having business and economy class. This train will be available every 5 to 10 minutes. Sources said there will be no land acquisition issues since the entire corridor is underground and elevated.

The RRTS system has borrowed from the London, Paris and New York model, where the underground tubes are seamlessly merged with high-speed rails networks. In Paris for instance, the metro is integrated with its Réseau Express Régional, a hybrid RRTS ensuring comfortable and efficient travel system.

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