By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 20 Feb: The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has approved the proposal for widening of Haridwar Bypass Road from Rispana Bridge to ISBT. The work of widening of this road which is part of National Highway had been held up since long due to paucity of funds as well as due to lack of political will, but now it is expected to begin soon!
According to the official sources, the Centre has accorded in principle approval of this project which is estimated to cost around Rs 45 crores. This road is part of National Highway 34 and had been hanging for past several years. Though, several past governments in the state promised rapid progress in the project but it remained a hollow progress. Now with the Centre approving this project and according in principle approval of the project submitted by the state PWD Department, one can actually hope for real progress in the project. Haridwar Bypass witnesses traffic jams for most part of the days everyday and widening is badly required for traffic to really start moving smoothly on this road. Sources claimed that Trivendra Singh Rawat Government had earnestly pursued the Centre for this project and now these efforts have started to bear fruit.
This project was actually part of Dehradun-Haridwar Highways Project but the agency originally entrusted with this work never really looked interested in doing the work. Ultimately the state government led by Trivendra Singh Rawat Government pursued the issue of undue delay with the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who agreed to entrust this part of the project to a different agency. In fact, now part of the work has been handed over to Atlas Construction Company and other part to Uttar Pradesh Bridge Construction Corporation and they have been engaged for widening of the entire Haridwar-Dehradun Highway work. Over 70 percent of the widening work has been completed but the work to widen the Haridwar Bypass section from Rispana Bridge to ISBT could not be taken up as no funds were available for the same. With the approval of Rs 45 crores fund for the same due to continuous pursuance by Principal Secretary PWD RK Sudhanshu, it is hoped that work would soon begin. The Public Works Department had sent a proposal to the Union Ministry, which accorded approval of this Rs 45 crores project.
The most challenging part of the project will be to widen the Rispana Bridge Crossing which witnessed constant traffic jams as it bears traffic load way beyond its present capacity. It remains to be seen however, how this crossing will be widened to ease the traffic flow and how long it will take. Though, most portion of Dehradun-Haridwar Highway has been widened and toll collection too has been started at Lacchiwala, unless the ISBT to Jogiwala and Harrawala section is not widened, the Doonites can’t feel much relief by way of smoother traffic flow. Commuters going from Dehradun to Rishikesh or Haridwar via Lacchiwala are resisting toll collection which is rather high in their opinion at Rs 85 for a single journey and Rs 125 for return journey within 24 hours. Those who have to frequently commute face a greater punch in their pockets. Though it has been announced that a monthly pass of Rs 270 will be issued to those who live within a distance of 20 km from Lachhiwala, the demand is to make all Dehradun residents eligible for this concession. A large number of persons commute daily from Lacchiwala. So far, the monthly passes have not been issued to anyone!