With the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway witnessing major construction work to ease the east-west movement of vehicles across Gurgaon, the city could be in for some struggle over the next two years as far as traffic situation is concerned. Major civil work has started at Rajiv Chowk where three underpasses are being built as part of the project.
At Signature tower crossing, the work on two underpasses on the expressway and a flyover at Maharana Pratap chowk started simultaneously and is currently underway.
The NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) will construct three underpasses at Rajiv Chowk—two for the movement of traffic from Sohna road to Old Gurgaon and another from Bakhtawar Singh road in front of Tau Devi Lal stadium to ease congestion on this road and route a part of the traffic towards Delhi.
Gawar Constructions, which has been assigned the project, said that they are following a three-phased plan to build the underpasses at Rajiv Chowk. The objective is to ensure smooth vehicle movement at the crossing, which witnesses heavy traffic from Sohna side and Old Gurgaon, apart from Delhi and Jaipur.
In the first phase of the project, the stretches branching out from Sohna Road and Bakhtawar Singh Road will be expanded. Thereafter the digging for the ramp will begin. The contractor has already started excavation for the box at Rajiv Chowk, while the box work for the Bakhtawar Chowk underpass is nearing completion. “The expansion of side roads will be completed in a month after which excavation for ramps for both the underpasses will begin. Once this is done, we will able to divert traffic from the main to side roads,” an official said.
At the Signature tower crossing, the two underpasses being constructed are 780 metres long, with the box length at 165 metres and the ramp length at 350 metres on both sides.
At Signature Tower, the construction will be taking place in phases at Rajiv Chowk. The expansion of side roads has begun on HUDA gymkhana side, opposite the Japanese hostel.
However, the work is slow as the shifting of utility is still in progress. The ongoing transfer of plots in front of MDI and another on the Jaipur side near the Signature Tower and the private property near Hero Traffic centre has also slackened the pace of work.
NHAI officials, however, said that the process of land acquisition is nearly complete and it would not take more than a week to transfer them.
Along with the underpasses, a flyover is being built at Rana Pratap Chowk to ensure that vehicles on MG Road move smoothly and do not choke traffic on this section. This four-lane flyover is expected to reduce traffic congestion on this crucial intersection, which connects old Gurgaon with Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower crossing and Atul Kataria Chowk.
“The work on laying the foundation for this flyover is almost complete,” a Gawar Constructions official said.
While the project is underway, the biggest concern for Gurgaon residents is about measures or the lack of them being taken by the contractor, NHAI and the traffic police to ensure smooth movement of vehicles on these bottlenecks.
Dinesh Agarwal, president, sector 14, RWA, alleged that the none of the stakeholders approached them before launching such a huge construction close to their sector. “Now, there are daily jams during peak hours and residents of sector 14 are suffering badly. We could have suggested measures to get around this problem,” he said.
Suhsma Gehlaut, president of sector 17 A, RWA, just opposite sector 14, had a more generous take and said traffic jams are a perennial problem and the flyovers could put an end to the woes of commuters. “Problems will remain but I think the authorities have managed to keep the hassles at minimum,” Gehlaut said.
Gawar Constructions said that they have deployed 15 marshals to help in traffic management and more are in line to be posted. For the safety of workers and commuters, the firm has also deployed 4 safety engineers at these spots.
This, Gurgaon police, however, claims the number is not adequate and much more needs to be done in terms of resources and manpower to keep the traffic situation normal.
Sandeep Khirwar, Gurgaon police commissioner, told HT that regular meetings are being held with the contractor, and NHAI to ensure things are in control. “We have asked the contractor to deploy 150 traffic marshals to ensure there are no traffic bottlenecks. More signage are being put up and checks being done to ensure traffic rolls smoothly,” Khirwar said.
Sibash Kaviraj, joint commissioner of police, traffic, who is also the in charge of armed police, said that 300 more policemen will be deployed on the highway and for traffic duty by the end of February. “We are going to ensure strict enforcement of traffic rules as this will solve the problem to a large extent,” he said.
Critics, however, said that expansion of roads was not the answer to traffic problems being faced by the city. “Across the world, it is seen that benefits of road expansion is neutralised within 4 to 5 years by the addition of vehicles. Instead of widening and expanding roads, Gurgaon should have a good bus and Metro service for hassle-free commuting,” Amit Bhatt, a member of Embarq, a thinktank, said.