Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (Auda) is once again planning to take up the six-laning of the 76-km Sardar Patel Ring Road.
At present, SP Ring Road is a four-lane road with service lanes running all along. Under the new plan, each of the lanes will be 12.5m wide instead of the present 8.5m.
On a daily basis, an estimated 3 million vehicles pass through the road. The ring road connects six national highways and 11 state highways. It is also the only major road connecting north Gujarat, central Gujarat, and the Saurashtra regions to Ahmedabad.
Auda plans to improve the drainage system along the road. This will involve laying new storm water lines and pumps and building a walkway along the storm water line. “Auda also plans to build pedestrian overpasses at key locations on the ring road to improve safety for pedestrians and road users,” said a state UDD official.
Additionally, Auda will upgrade all existing flyovers on the ring road to six lanes. It will also plant trees along the sides of the ring road.
The Rs 200-crore project for six-laning of the entire SP Ring Road was initially given to Ahmedabad Ring Road Infrastructure Ltd (ARRIL) in 2019.
“Back then, it was decided that the concessionaire will execute the project as a joint venture between Sadbhav Engineering and Auda. But Auda turned down ARRIL’s demand to extend its toll collection agreement by three and a half years over and above the period agreed upon earlier. This had led to a dispute which continued till June 2021 and the project was put on hold,” said a senior state urban development department official.
The company which was to execute the project had finally withdrawn from it. AUDA does not have enough funds to complete the project by itself.
AUDA had constructed the SP Ring Road in 2006 on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. As traffic increased over the years, it decided to widen the road and make it six-lane. A feasibility report was prepared and approved by its board.
Following this, AUDA wrote to ARRIL in February 2019 asking it to execute the project. The company agreed. It was decided that the entire cost of Rs 200 crore was to be borne by ARRIL and AUDA would not have to spend any money.
The company collects toll tax on Ring Road, the agreement for which is to end on December 31, 2026. Now, it wants AUDA to extend its agreement by three-and-a-half years more. It made written representations to AUDA which was rejected by the board.
The board stood its ground and adopted a resolution that contained four provisions — that AUDA would not contribute a penny in the Rs 200-crore cost; a third-party consultant would be hired to decide on the bill of quantity; all extra toll income would be deposited in AUDA’s account; lastly the two circles on SP Ring Road would be named after the deceased chairman of Sadbhav group.
Following this, the company wrote to AUDA that it would not take up the six-laning project.