Delhi AAP government completed the construction of 154 metres high and 670 metres long, picturesque Signature bridge, built at a total cost of Rs 1575 crores in Delhi . It is the first monument of its kind in India, built totally indigenously in India, since Independence. That it is the largest bridge in Asia, and only the second one of its kind in the world? The first is in Holland. It took almost 20 years to complete this project after the first draft was generated in 1998. In those 20 years, past 3.5 years have been very significant. Despite all the delays by the centre, AAP party started and finished the bridge in just three and half years, a project which was hanging fire for almost 20 years.
AAP kept working persistently, to finish constructing the bridge as quickly as possible, but both congress and BJP which did everything possible to stop the project, rushed to take credit for the bridge. The magnificent structure, the only one of its kind in Asia, and only the second in the world, the first being in Holland, was finally inaugurated on November 4, 2018. Just four days after the much touted Sardar Vallabh bhai statue in Gujarat, which is 182 metres, but built at a cost of approximately Rs 3000 crores which is almost double that of the Signature Bridge. The statue however just has an ornamental value, while the bridge will ease the travel time of lakhs of passengers, using the bridge, every month.
The asymmetrical, cabled bridge is the highest structure in the country at 154 metres and 670 metres long, which offers a 360 degrees aerial view of Delhi. It has been built by Gammon India, in consultation with experts in Japan, France and Italy. The only monument of this kind to be built in India, indigenously since Independence, at a cost of Rs 1575 crores.
The bridge was first conceived by the then chief minister Saheb Singh Verma, of the BJP, when a bus carrying school children toppled over from an old bridge on Yamuna river. The project cost for an ordinary bridge then was Rs 459 crores.
Delays by missing deadlines, escalated the cost to Rs 827 crores, when the Sheila Dikshit government decided to build it in 2004. Nothing again moved till 2008, when it was decided to make it a significant structure instead. Hardly any progress was made until 2010, except getting clearances from the forest department, and the cost jumped to Rs 1131 crore.
Work on the bridge finally started in 2010 and as soon as they started construction, the engineers informed that there was a layer of unsteady rock below the surface, which would make it difficult to put a steady structure there. To get past this obstacle they needed another Rs 300 crores.
Since then, the project moved only on paper. The first pylon for the bridge, was erected by the AAP government in March 2015, only a month after they came to power. Final pylon was installed on May 29 2018, later on the same day it was announced that Signature Bridge will be ready for Diwali in 2018.
For a year and a half, the Narendra Modi government kept throwing in the obstacles, refusing to pass the budget, give clearances etc. while officers told the minsters that they have been threatened with CBI inquiries, if they worked on the bridge. The prime minister also insisted that everything be done to stop the bridge from being inaugurated during AAP’s tenure.
After persistent efforts on a daily basis, the bridge was finally inaugurated on November 4, 2018, more than 20 years after it was first envisaged, at much untold hardships to the people concerned.
Since these accomplishments, the PWD of Delhi, has become the cynosure of the eyes of many state governments, who are left with wonderment how the Delhi PWD is able to accomplish it all, while the PWD’s around the country continue to be incompetent and corrupt.