Inaugurated on 4th November 2018, the Signature Bridge has been in the headlines for a reason. The country’s first asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge, it has taken over 14 years to be completed. Conceptualized in 1998 roughly, it has since then faced multiple delays.
The Signature Bridge will now be connecting Wazirabad to East Delhi, expected to reduce the travel time between north and northeast parts of the city, as well as considerably reduce the traffic burden in the two areas.
The Inception and Construction of Signature Bridge
In 1998, 22 school students lost their lives in an accident on the Wazirabad bridge. Narrow and old, the Wazirabad bridge wasn’t equipped enough to prevent the accident. It was then, that the Delhi government first started talking about making another bridge, parallel to the existing one. In the same year, a draft plan had been finalized; however, due to reasons like lack of manpower, funds etc, the construction never began.
In 2004, after several obstructions, the work on site finally began in full swing. The initial plan was to wrap up the construction by the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but the deadlines weren’t met. Then, again, a new time was set for 2016. Delayed once again, the completion work dragged till 2018, when the bridge was finally inaugurated on November 4.
What Makes the Signature Bridge Unique?
The construction work for the signature bridge began with an expected cost of Rs. 1100 crore. However, since then, the project witnessed cost escalations several times. The final estimated cost at the time of inauguration is about Rs. 1875 crore. The inauguration was done by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, along with the deputy CM, Manish Sisodia. The latter has called it a “civil engineering spectacle”. Here are some salient features:
a. It is an eight-lane carriageway, acting as an interlink between Outer Ring Road and Wazirabad Road.
b. For people moving towards Ghaziabad road, it will reduce the travel time by approximately 30 minutes.
c.It is India’s first asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge.
d. It will have a 154-meter viewing box, made up of high glass- double the height of Qutub Minar.
e. The viewing box will provide a panoramic view of the city to the people, also acting as a selfie point.
Inauguration and the Road Ahead
Even before being officially open to the public, the Signature Bridge has already seen its first political controversy. The project was under the Delhi government (currently AAP). BJP Delhi chief, and the MP for North-East Delhi, Manoj Tiwari reached the venue shortly before the inauguration, leading to a scuffle between the two parties, as well as, the police.
Tiwari had not been invited for the event, something he spoke against, and alleged that upon reaching the area, he was stopped by the police, and also manhandled. On the other hand, Kejriwal has blamed BJP for disrupting peace at the venue.
Despite the bridge being politicized right from the beginning, there is no denying that the residents of Delhi are more or less happy with the inauguration. The bridge will provide comparatively easy commuting to many in the city.