Kherki Daula resident Dilip Yadav still regrets the decision to bring his mother from neighbouring Mahendragarh district to a private hospital in Gurgaon. Yadav’s mother Shrishti Devi, who was very ill, had a close brush with death as they were caught in a long jam at the Kherki Daula toll plaza on their way to the Gurgaon hospital.
“We missed the appointment at the private hospital and had to rush to a hospital in Old Gurgaon to save my mother’s life,” he said.
Yadav is not the only one who has faced such problems at the Kherki Daula toll plaza. Most of the 75,000 drivers who cross the stretch every day face such jams.
Experts say poor planning, bad design and unrealistic projection of the future traffic flow at the time of the construction are responsible for the perpetual jams there.
The most glaring problem at the Kherki Daula toll plaza is the movement of vehicles coming from the Jaipur side. These vehicles travel in the opposite direction. In fact, vehicles coming from the Jaipur side and travelling to Hero Honda Chowk, Darbaripur and Badshahpur have to take a right which puts them directly in the way of fast-moving vehicles coming from Gurgaon. This often leads to accidents.
Traffic police in-charge, Kherki Daula, Narender Kumar said due to the cross movement of vehicles, accidents take place at the toll plaza every day and there has been no improvement in the situation despite deployment of constables.
The movement of vehicles in the opposite direction is called ‘contra flow’ and is a practice started in western countries, especially in areas where not much development has taken place. But according to experts, recent research has proved that ‘contra flow’ poses a serious safety issue.
“Wherever ‘contra flow’ has been allowed, there has been a rise in accidents and so the practice is being stopped now. This would have worked at the Kherki Daula if the highway was away from Gurgaon and not in the middle of a growing city,” said Amit Bhatt, head of Embarq, an NGO that works on transport-related issues.
Another major trouble spot at the Kherki Daula plaza is the U-turn for Gurgaon-bound traffic, as it is the only point for crossing the highway till Rajiv Chowk. According to Gurgaon police officials, narrow service roads and large potholes in front of Haldiram shop at the Darbaripur exit leads to jams that sometimes extend up to the Kherki Daula toll plaza.
“We have posted home guards at the Darbaripur exit, but still there are frequent jams and they extend up to the toll plaza. We have complained about the potholes but no action has been taken,” said Kumar.
Police personnel say movement of vehicles in opposite direction on the service road from Kherki Daula to Rajiv Chowk also leads to jams and accidents. But they have to allow vehicles to ply in both directions because there is no underpass or flyover for cross movement.
Professor Sewa Ram from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, said the real reason for highways like the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway failing to serve their purpose is that town planners are not involved in their construction and the design is mostly made by traffic engineers.
S Raghuraman, CEO, of concessionaire MCEPL, said, “We have taken all measures to ensure that commuters travel in a hassle-free manner on the Gurgaon Expressway and through the Kherki Daula toll plaza. Electronic toll collection system, RFID tags and split lanes were installed as per the high court directions.”