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A Pits-burgh in Delhi

delhi Updated: Nov 10, 2009 00:40 IST
Siddhartha Roy
Siddhartha Roy
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The fastest road to develop high blood pressure whizzes through Dhaula Kuan along National Highway 8. At least that’s one way it speeds you up.

On all other counts, the five-armed grade separator is among Delhi's slowest stretches.

Baptised Priyadarshini Setu, the Rs 25-crore separator is the third biggest in the city but has not been able to stop jams uncoiling right up to Sardar Patel Marg.

On the laziest of days, the south Delhi intersection witnesses large volume of interstate traffic — people commuting between Gurgaon and Dwarka — and traffic between south and central Delhi. Many going to the Delhi airport too pass this way.

Dhaula Kuan Bus stop

Gurgaon-bound buses, notorious for rash driving, halt anywhere but at the side of the road at the bus stop near the separator. Disembarking pedestrians brave any green light to make mad dashes across traffic.

What has worsened the situation is the ongoing construction of Metro’s Airport Express Link, expected to be ready by September 2010.

Rain wreck

When it rains, large craters left behind by construction work and the movement of heavy freight traffic fill up with water and paralyse all movement.

Alternative therapy

Experts say there should be more alternatives to reach Gurgaon and Delhi Airport, to take pressure off this stretch.

Expert Speak

Provide alternative roads to divert traffic

The stretch between Dhaula Kuan and Rao Tula Ram Marg crossing suffers from lack of comprehensive planning, said AK Jain, former Commissioner (Planning), Delhi Development Authority.

Jain, who’s been associated with Delhi's urban transport planning for more than three decades, said road infrastructure has not proved sufficient for the unanticipated growth of areas like Gurgaon.

“There is heavy concentration of traffic here due to mixing of long range and local traffic,” he said. “Defence and airport authority land available nearby can be used to widen roads here.”

Jain said there should be more road and Metro links to the Delhi Airport so people have other options than taking the congested NH 8 stretch. "There could be a parallel road along the Rewari Railway line, as land is available there, to access the airport."

In the long run, however, more people would have to shift to public transport. “This stretch should be widened to build a Bus Rapid Transit Corridor, so we have dedicated cycle and pedestrian corridors for users who are usually marginalized.”

Grill Session

Once Metro’s airport link takes off, traffic will smoothen

Interview with SN Shrivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic)

Traffic snarls at Dhaula Kuan have gone from bad to worse, what measures are you taking to ease the problem?

Once construction of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) Airport Link is completed, the problem will reduce. We have been insisting on the barricades put up by DMRC to be removed to provide more road space and they have done that, which has reduced congestion to a large extent.

Motorists coming from Dhaula Kuan and turning right towards Station Road often block major part of the road and cause a bottleneck, how do you plan to solve this problem?

We have put up barricades to segregate traffic turning right and going straight. There is a plan to build an underpass or flyover at the intersection. We have stopped traffic coming from Station Road from turning right — vehicles have to take a detour from the flyover — and kept the left turn free.

What does the government propose to do about buses stopping mid-road to pick up passengers from the Dhuala Kuan bus stop?

We have put up Jersey (concrete) barriers to segregate buses from other traffic. We have also put up a divider to separate traffic coming from SP Marg and Ring Road to avoid bottlenecks at this spot.

We need to show a red light to too many red lights

Interview with Rajkumar Chauhan, Delhi PWD minister

What is the reason behind perennial traffic snarls at the Dhaula Kuan stretch and why does traffic come to a complete standstill there during rains despite a grade separator?

The congestion at Dhaula Kuan is due to the ongoing metro work. When the work is completed, the traffic problem would be cleared. During rains, the water slows down vehicles. Many two wheeler users stand beneath the flyover or underpass to avoid the rain and this creates jams.

Dhaula Kuan has the third biggest grade separator in the city, then why has it failed to ease traffic congestion at the intersection?

There are red lights right after the flyover, which stop the flow of vehicles. The traffic police should close down some red lights on the stretch and perhaps have one traffic intersection after each five kilometres. The traffic police in Mumbai make some roads one-way in the morning peak hour and some in the evening. We can't have flyovers at all roads, the traffic plan of the city has to be reviewed.

The Dhaula Kuan bus stop near the grade separator slows down traffic. Are there plans to relocate the stop?

The bus stop definitely needs to be further pushed back and the traffic police along with transport department officials will carry out the measure soon. The Metro is also coming here and many commuters would also be able to use it along with buses.