Delhi has now become one of the first cities in India to get a road tunnel. The Pragati Maidan tunnel, which was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on 19th June 2022 is the first tunnel in the city. The tunnel, and 5 more underpasses will help faster commutation of road transport along the Delhi Ring Road.

After inauguration, the tunnel was thrown open to the public the following day. The tunnel is the widest road tunnel in India, serving 6 lanes of road. The tunnel starts near the National Sports Complex of India at the Purana Qila Road and passes underneath the redeveloped Pragati Maidan to meet the Ring Road near the Pragati Power station. Among the 5 more underpasses, 3 are complete, and the other 2 also are going to be completed soon.

The new tunnel is equipped with all modern facilities like smart fire management, modern ventilation and automated drainage, digitally controlled CCTV and Public Announcement system inside the tunnel. The six-lane tunnel has access to the huge basement parking of Pragati Maidan. The two cross tunnels below the main tunnel road have been constructed in order to facilitate movement of the traffic from either side of the parking lot.

Commuters are surprised and excited to visit the tunnel as the colourful designs and paintings in the walls have become an attraction for Facebook and Instagram posts. The murals of six seasons of India, flora and fauna, flowers, birds, zodiac symbols and Indian culture are sculpted on the side walls and central pillars of the tunnel. While people were clicking selfies and videos, some of them were also concerned about the safety of people as the tunnel is a passage where vehicles keep moving.

The tunnel will also serve as an alternative route to Bhairon Marg and is expected to take more than half of the traffic load of Bhairon Marg. The tunnel is also expected to reduce commutation time in the area by a huge margin, reducing both traffic jams and air pollution due to shorter routes. According to Public Works Department (PWD) officials, the corridor will allow commuters travelling to India Gate and other central Delhi areas from east Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad to ditch traffic snarls at ITO, Mathura Road and Bhairon Marg. For the few days, the tunnel will open for traffic from 8 am to 8 pm on a trial basis, officials said.

Written by – Himadri Paul