A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court lifted the ban on toll collection on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, vehicles were seen moving at a snail's pace on either sides of Sirhaul toll plaza (Delhi border) during peak evening hours on Tuesday.
The HC order on U-turn, lack of sign boards and traffic guidance added to the chaos. The court, on Monday, had said that the U-turn at the toll plaza (from Jaipur side) could only be used as a U-turn and not as an 'L-turn' (to gain entry to Ambience Mall by crossing the highway). It had said the Gurgaon police would be held accountable for the lapses.
The L-turn has been blocked and motorists are not allowed to enter the service lanes to reach Ambiance Mall. But the toll operator and traffic police had not advertised about it.
As a result, motorists, coming from Gurgaon, have to travel about 4km extra and cross the Delhi-Gurgaon toll plaza twice over to reach Ambience Mall, Lagoon Apartments and The Leela Kempinski hotel, which are hardly 100 metres from the U-turn. This is a bad bargain as they have to pay toll fee twice.
Unaware of the court's directive and fresh traffic norms, many were seen arguing with the Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) toll operators and traffic police personnel over the issues of toll collection during the peak hours and U-turn in the middle of the expressway.
The real problem was witnessed near the U-turn as motorists were trying to enter the service lanes (L-turn), which were blocked. This led to jams. Commuters complained that the authorities did not give them prior information about the L-turn being blocked.
However, the DGSCL officials claim that they had managed the traffic quite well. Traffic at the toll gates was mostly smooth. The vehicle queues did not cross the red line, marked on either sides of the Sirhaul plaza, and the average waiting time was 3-5 minutes.
The court had asked the DGSCL to draw a red line at 400 metres from the toll plaza on both the sides. If the queue of waiting vehicles reaches this line, the police have been empowered to stop toll collection and lift the boom barriers to ease congestion.
However, DGSCL officials said the boom did not have to be opened even once as the traffic remained smooth.
Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) administrator Praveen Kumar also reviewed the toll operations at the expressway. Huda officials have assured that they would take up issues plaguing commuters to the authorities concerned. "I will take this matter to the agencies concerned and will appeal to the court to address the problem," said Kumar.