Ghaziabad: When will NH 24 feel like a national highway?
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Ghaziabad: When will NH 24 feel like a national highway?

With parts of the highway yet to begin even after a year of inauguration, residents have slim hopes of having a traffic-free ride anytime soon...

Ghaziabad: When will NH 24 feel like a national highway?

Ghaziabad residents are not happy with the slow progress of the NH 24 widening project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the project in December 2015, which will see the four-lane highway being converted to a 14-lane highway.

Currently, residents of Indirapuram and Crossings Republik spend hours on the highway due to severe traffic congestion. Commuters face extreme traffic snarls especially on intersections such as Sector 62 Noida, Kala Patthar, Khoda and Crossings Republik.

The road-widening project of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is being undertaken in three sections — from Nizamuddin Bridge in Delhi to UP Gate, from UP Gate to Dasna, and from Dasna to Hapur. It starts at NH 44 near Nizamuddin Bridge, intersects NH 34 at Lal Kuan, and goes on to join NH 9 in Hapur.

Despite being under progress from December 2015, commuting on the highway continues to be a nightmare.

One of the major reasons behind the traffic chaos and hours-long traffic snarls is the shared autos plying on the road. Due to its superb connectivity, the highway is thronged by them, connecting Patparganj in Delhi to a variety of places such as Khoda colony, Indirapuram, Sector 62 Noida, Crossings Republik, Lal Kuan, Dasna, Masuri and Hapur. 

Irked with the delay, Federation of AOAs (FedAOA) wrote to the PMO on December 26, seeking its intervention to solve the issue.

In his complaint to the PMO, Alok Kumar, founder of FedAOA, mentioned that the tender invitation for the stretch was first issued in August 2015. Dates were extended for the first time till September 21, 2015. Thereafter, tender submission dates were extended for 16 times in just a year. The last extension for tender submission was issued on December 23, 2016. 

Speaking to City Spidey, Kumar said the stretch was crucial to Ghaziabad and Noida residents and was used by over 3 lakh commuters daily. "The frequent traffic jam on the stretch not only wastes a lot of time but has also leads to air pollution in the area," added Kumar.

Pooja Shrivastava, a resident of Crossings Republik, said that due to congestion on the highway, she wasted four hours travelling to and from her workplace in Connaught Place every day. "The only route to the nearest hospital is via the highway and in case of an emergency, we have no option but to get stuck in traffic. It is really scary," she added.

According to NHAI officials, work on the stretch between Nizamuddin Bridge and UP Gate was started on November 28, 2016, work on the Dasna-Hapur stretch began on December 19 and work on the stretch between UP Gate and Dasna is awaiting directions from the Delhi high court to begin.

Speaking to City Spidey, RP Singh, project director, NHAI, said work on the UP Gate-Dasna stretch was embroiled in legal trouble.

He said NHAI had already taken up technical bids for the project. The bids were opened on October 3. But trouble started as a bidding agency filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, challenging its disqualification. The bidder, reportedly, did not meet the pre-qualification requirements of the technical bid.

"The judgment to the petition has already been reserved for pronouncement in the first week of January. We should have the orders in two to three days, work will follow accordingly," Singh added.