Commuters heading from New Delhi to Manesar took more than 30 minutes to clear Hero Honda Chowk on Monday afternoon, as a portion of the road near the chowk caved in while officials were engaged in shifting the water pipeline to pave way for the underpass coming up on the stretch. The incident threw traffic out of gear and left thousands of commuters stranded for five hours.
Officials of the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) barricaded the portion of road which caved in and workers were also deployed on the main road for shifting the pipeline, thereby reducing the road space significantly and forcing vehicles to just about squeeze through a very narrow portion of the stretch.
The NHAI officials confirmed that the situation will persist on Tuesday as work on shifting the utilities is yet to be completed.
Only two of the three lanes were accessible for traffic, leading to snarls and creating an artificial backlog that stretched till Rajiv Chowk.
Compounding the woes for commuters, only one carriageway of the Hero Honda Chowk flyover is open to traffic heading from Manesar towards New Delhi. Vehicles heading from Manesar to New Delhi will not be able to take the carriageway till June.
Normal traffic movement on the stretch could only be restored after traffic police reached the spot at around 3.30 pm.
NHAI officials said the pipelines were proving to be a hindrance to the construction of the underpass and, hence, had to be shifted.
“We were hoping to complete the shifting of pipelines today. However, the water supply from the Chandu Budhera treatment plant stopped later than expected. This has partially delayed the shifting, but we are hopeful of finishing the job by Tuesday morning,” a senior NHAI official said.
However, the NHAI officials couldn’t say how soon the caved-in portion of the road will be fixed and will open to traffic.
Many commuters voiced misgivings over the scheduling of the shifting job. “This couldn’t have been timed any worse as most of the meetings are scheduled on Mondays. This should have been done on Sunday when most offices stay closed and the volume of traffic remains low. It took me more than 90 minutes to reach Manesar. I missed my meeting with a client,” Abhishek Dayal, a resident of Nirvana Country, said.
For some motorists, passing the chowk was a nightmare on the day.
“I reached Rajiv Chowk at around 2.30 pm and cleared Hero Honda Chowk at 3.20 pm. I could not spot traffic officers anywhere. There was complete chaos and the vehicles started veering into the wrong lane, leading to chaos,” Shilpi Mohan, a resident of DLF Phase 3, said.