A drive through Ashram and ITO intersections continues to be a nightmare but the stretches notorious for gridlocks are not among the Delhi’s 55 congestion-prone areas, a list of which was submitted in Parliament on Tuesday.
The Kashmere Gate inter-state bus terminal that tops the list sees around 100,000 vehicles in peak hours. Traffic police estimate for south Delhi’s Ashram during rush hour is 250,000 vehicles.
It was surprising that Ashram intersection plagued by poor infrastructure and high traffic volume was not on the list, Ravindra Kumar, principal scientist, transportation and planning, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) said.
“…during peak hours Ashram intersection witnesses as many as four to five lakh vehicles crossing the stretch,” Kumar said. Though authorities blamed jam on Metro construction but CRRI found only 5-10% of traffic would ease once the work would end, he said.
Ashram and ITO in central Delhi were the city’s most congested stretches for the last five years.
The Kalindi Kunj intersection that is north of the Ashram stretch, too, is among the traffic jam-hit areas. Mukarba Chowk in north Delhi is a close second to ISBT on the list submitted as an annexure by minister of state for home Kiran Rijiju. East Delhi’s Shastri Park, Akshardham, and Mayur Vihar are next on the list.
The minister was replying to a question on Capital’s traffic choke points.
While Ashram connects parts of east Delhi to south, ITO links central Delhi and eastern parts of the city. Traffic snarls are common on both stretches. Ashram, for instance, has been dug up for two years now.
Traffic police, however, say better planning has ensured smoother drive. “Though the volume of traffic on these stretches has not reduced so much, better traffic and route management has helped. We are determined to make these stretches better,” special commissioner of police (traffic) Muktesh Chander said.
Traffic experts, however, were divided on the list. Some said focus on the two intersections had made a difference while others found it hard to accept that congestion could drop so drastically.
The biggest obstacle at ITO was the Metro work eating into half the carriageway leading towards Delhi Gate, said Dr Padmanabhan Iyer, who is a senior scientist and professor of city planning at IIT-Delhi. Vehicles got more space after barricades were removed. “It is also a VIP zone. So it helped commuters in the area as the focus of the authorities is directed towards the ITO junction time and again,” he said.
Routing traffic to Old Delhi directly under a new plan, too, had eased congestion, traffic police sources said. “Vehicles coming from Connaught Place via Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg heading to the Ring Road now have to take a left turn around 50 metres before the ITO signal. These vehicles earlier used to take a turn from the signal, adding to chaos,” a traffic official said.
Another choke point, Rao Tula Ram Marg, dropped down from Top 10 to Number 34.