A distance of 15 kilometres that takes up to an hour at peak hours — that’s the short description of a journey from Zirakpur to Chandigarh’s heart, Sector 17. The longer description includes a poorly planned flyover, an along-the-highway village turning into an urban cesspool, a near-absent traffic management, and even a bus stand that stands in the middle of it all, a symbol of utter disregard by the authorities.
From Ambala-side end of the flyover right up to Tribune Chowk, traffic gets stuck several times.
First, there is the turn towards Patiala from under the flyover, where traffic from Punjab merges onto the Ambala-Kalka stretch of NH-22. Then comes the signal where traffic coming from Panchkula and HP joins in. This is where the Zirakpur bus stand has been built! As the flyover ends, there are people waiting for buses on both sides here, even though the Punjab and Haryana high court has repeatedly rapped the police and civic administration to end this practice.
And, as you finally enter Chandigarh, the airport traffic lights fail to ease the traffic. The road — Dakshin Marg— narrows down near the ‘poultry farm chowk’ where some of the traffic enter the Industrial Area, and it eases up at Tribune Chowk as traffic gets segregated.
“Population in the larger Zirakpur area alone is around 3 lakh, with flats coming up. People working in Chandigarh are now packed here,” underlined Shiv Doda, a Dhakoli resident.
People who take the route via Panchkula end up at the Madhya Marg, which is not of much help. For Punjab traffic, there is a bypass route towards new Airport Road from near the Chhatbir zoo towards SAS Nagar. That is not enough, though.