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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Overlooking local traffic one of the main causes of expressway mess

Siddhartha Rai , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, September 08, 2013
First Published: 01:32 IST(8/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(8/9/2013)

It is now a known fact that the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and the associated phenomena — jams, holdups, broken service roads and unending queues at the two toll plazas — have made life difficult for commuters, but the devil, as the saying goes, is in the details.

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Absence of pedestrian walkways, near absence of cross-over facilities like foot-overbridges and underpasses, and messy and uncoordinated intersections are some of the design flaws that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), in its defence against catechism from the Parliament and the CAG, said it did not anticipate while planning the expressway.

"Either the expressway, meant to fly past Delhi and Gurgaon to Jaipur, should not have been used by the local traffic of Gurgaon, or the NHAI should have planned the expressway keeping in mind the needs of Gurgaon traffic as well," said Rohit Baluja, president of Institute of Road Traffic Education and director of College of Traffic Management, Faridabad.

Baluja says that the Gurgaon traffic has created a muddle for the expressway.

"The Gurgaon authorities did not coordinate with the NHAI. They saw that development along the highway was easy and profitable, and did not develop their internal traffic mechanism, putting the entire pressure on the highway.

"There was lack of planning from the beginning. The volume of traffic was 10 times the figure estimated on the very first day of operations. The authorities, clearly, did not take into account population growth, rise in number of vehicles, the expected rate of industrial growth in new Gurgaon, and migration from Delhi," said urban planning expert Sarika Panda Bhat.

Bhat also suggests constructing a bypass to avoid the traffic muddle created due to the expressway and the toll plazas.

After Seoul removed the Cheonggyecheon highway, the average price for apartments in the area rose by almost 25% as compared to only 10% in the neighborhoods farther away. Rents for commercial office spaces rose, too. Who knows the case might be the same for Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.


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