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Why you may not get bird’s-eye view of city from height of 154 m

Why you may not get bird’s-eye view of city from height of 154m

SIGNATURE BRIDGE: Slow, Small Lifts Prompt Rethink On Viewing Gallery

New Delhi:

There’s disappointment in store for those who looked forward to a 360-degree view of Delhi from the observatory deck atop Signature Bridge. Delhi government sources disclosed that the two inclined and two vertical elevators facilitating access to the four-storey viewers’ gallery were not capable of handing the expected rush of visitors.

The viewers’ gallery is located at a height of 154 metres, twice that of the Qutab Minar. The gallery has a façade of thick glass which can be expected to get very hot at peak summer and this was another challenge for the government in its plan to haul people up for a bird’s-eye view of the capital.

Though Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), the agency executing the project, is working on some “modifications” in the design including widening of staircases to make them more spacious, officials privy to the status of the project said the final decision on whether the deck will be opened to the public lies with the political leadership.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also in charge of tourism department, did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him on the issue.

Constructed at a cost of Rs1,518 crore, Signature Bridge was conceived of in 2004 and approved by the Sheila Dikshit government in 2007. It took more than 11 years for its inauguration in 2018, with the viewing deck and the glass façade taking another year for completion.

The triangular-shaped inclined lifts go up 70 metres. These are connected with the second set of vertical lifts with three flight of stairs. The vertical lifts then travel up 60 metres to reach the four-level observatory deck, which has spiral staircases. This design makes the elevators very slow and it takes around four minutes for visitors to reach the observatory deck.

“Due to the peculiar design, space constraint and slow speed of the elevators, some people may feel claustrophobic inside. The system may not get safety certificates from the fire and labour departments,” said an official. Trial runs of the four elevators are currently in progress.

The elevators currently have simple fans though provisions for air-conditioning are being made, said sources. The elevators can accommodate four passengers at a time while the viewers’ gallery has a capacity for 50 people.

The government contemplated building another tower with a bullet lift parallel to the existing structure and connect it with the observatory deck. “We had a discussion with the German consultant who oversaw the original structure, but he shot down the proposal,” revealed an official.

DTTDC, however, is continuing the work to illuminate the bridge, pylons and steel cables. A separate agency has been hired to install theme lighting, the pattern of which will change as appropriate to national festivals. The lighting is likely to be inaugurated in the next few days.

The construction agency is also connecting the sidewalk of the bridge with the parking area through a 300-metre walkway on the western side. The parking bay, which can accommodate 100 vehicles, also has an open-air plaza, eateries, play zone for children and public conveniences.