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Under duress over drive

If it were not for serpentine queues of vehicles, the Capital’s flyovers and underpasses — during the monsoon — could easily be mistaken for makeshift water bodies. Neelam Pandey reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2011 01:52 IST
Neelam Pandey

If it were not for serpentine queues of vehicles, the Capital’s flyovers and underpasses — during the monsoon — could easily be mistaken for makeshift water bodies.

Though they have been a boon in terms of connectivity, when it rains, it pours misery on commuters stuck on, under and near flyovers.

Déjà vu may be in store for Delhi, this monsoon as well, as most flyovers and underpasses do not have proper drainage, which contributes to major waterlogging and traffic chaos.

Yet, with more and more flyovers being added to counter the city’s burgeoning traffic, the situation is becoming alarming.

Experts point out that in most flyovers in the city, the gradient — an important factor in determining its slope in such a way that water flows easily inside drains — is not maintained properly, causing water to accumulate. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/22_06_11-pg02a.jpg

“While constructing a flyover, one has to maintain a particular grain, so that water flows easily. However, most flyovers in the city flout this,” said PK Sarkar, a road, traffic and transport expert. “At the designing stage itself, one needs to ensure that the contours of flyovers should be such that water should flow directly into drains,” Sarkar added.

There are 72 flyovers in the city. Plans to construct 12 more are afoot.

However, during construction, contractors rarely pay attention to this crucial factor. And so, most flyovers end up with an undulating slope.

Not only this, experts further point out that at many places, the flyovers are not even connected to storm water drains.

“There are so many examples in the city wherein the gradient of the flyover is not maintained properly. This leads to heavy waterlogging such as at Chirag Delhi Flyover and Savitri Cinema, among others,” said Sarkar.

“The flyovers have to be connected to the main storm water drains in such a manner that water makes its way there,” he added. The traffic police, too, finds it difficult to deal with the situation.

“As water is not discharged properly, it leads to waterlogging. This slows down the speed of vehicles. Also, at times, due to heavy waterlogging, vehicles break down,” said Satyendra Garg, Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic).

“This has a ripple effect on the overall traffic scenario. Due to waterlogging, overall space for vehicles also gets reduced,” Garg added.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which is responsible for cleaning the drains in the city, is now planning to write to the agencies which have constructed (and are responsible for maintaining) these flyovers and underpasses to create efficient drainage.

“Maximum waterlogging takes places underneath flyovers, as in many areas, they are not connected to storm water drains. We will be asking all the other agencies to improve (upon) this aspect,” said Yogender Chandolia, chairman, MCD Standing Committee.