R.P. Indoria, former DG (roads) and special secretary, MoRTH talks to Sanjeev K Ahuja
High traffic volume, staff crunch, poor tolling system causing slow vehicle clearance, poor management and traffic rule violations — these are some of the factors that plague the toll plazas on Gurgaon expressway.
Forget about the global toll plazas which do not have toll booths to physically collect toll from commuters and where vehicles do not halt even for a second or even slow down for that matter, even the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway has several lessons to impart to its Delhi-Gurgaon counterpart.
Vehicles at the DND flyway drive past the plaza at the speed of 30-40 kmph without halting, while vehicles at Sirhaul toll plaza have to halt or go dead slow before getting near the toll booth where boom barriers lift to allow the vehicle.
The toll collection mechanism in the tag lanes is not fast enough resulting in slow vehicle clearance. Moreover, the traffic marshals deputed at the DND flyway, who segregate tag-fitted vehicles from the non-tag ones, are not found near Gurgaon expressway toll plazas allowing both types of vehicles getting in the tag lanes, thereby resulting in slow clearance of vehicles.
Many other countries that have urbanised stretches like the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, such as Singapore and Malaysia, do not have either the toll booths or the boom barriers as the toll collection mechanism there uses better technology.
The expansion of Sirhaul toll plaza, which happened vertically in the form of split toll lanes, could help in decongestion to some extent. I have not seen infrastructure the world over, but the size of Sirhaul toll plaza, I think, is large enough to accommodate the large volume of vehicular traffic here; 32 or 47 lanes are enough to tackle over two lakh vehicles, but poor management of the plazas is a cause of worry.
Efforts are missing on the part of the operator to push for more smart tags that could have solved the problem to some extent. Also, irresponsible motorists make the problem more acute as unauthorised cash users move into tag lanes all the time.