Kherki Daula toll plaza on the Gurgaon-Manesar border, along with the Sirhaul plaza that separates Delhi from Gurgaon, is part of a traffic mesh that has become an unavoidable ordeal for tens of thousands of commuters on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
Besides the problems of mismanagement and faulty design that plague almost the whole of the expressway, Kherki Daula toll plaza has its unique issues resulting from its geographical location.
Commercial vehicles, especially the heavy-duty ones traversing between Kanayakumari and Srinagar, as well as the ones ferrying industrial produce from IMT Manesar and Gurgaon, rule the roost here posing serious problems for regular commuters. The situation turns worse after 9pm when no-entry restrictions are relaxed and these commercial vehicles hit the highway.
“Trucks are the main problems at the toll plaza. There are no separate bays where these can be parked while no-entry is effective, and therefore they stand on the road and block traffic,” said Ram Veer Singh, former pradhan of Narsinghpur village, which is situated by the expressway.
Surrounded by over a dozen densely populated villages and with nearly 1lakh vehicles moving across this point daily, Kherki Daula toll plaza has just 18 lanes which are inadequate to handle the traffic volume. Accidents and near-death experiences are a daily phenomenon here with local people helplessly reeling under the chaos.
Expressway concessionaire Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) maintains that the authorities should consider staggering the entry of heavy vehicles when the no-entry restrictions are relaxed after 9pm so that the sudden rush of traffic at the toll plaza could be controlled. “We have also sought their help to challan incorrectly parked heavy vehicles near the toll plaza,” said a company spokesperson.
Even if all the efforts are considered, the ordeal remains the same for the regular commuters. “The toll plaza is a menace. All along the stretch, trucks are parked on the service lanes and even by the main carriageway. It takes me nearly one-and-a-half hours to reach my office when it should take just 15 minutes,” said Pankaj Tyagi, working at MM Auto in IMT Manesar and a resident of Sector 46.
And, as expected, there are inherent designing flaws, too. “Unlike the Sirhaul toll plaza,” says transport planner Chirag Chutani, “Kherki Daula toll does not have proper facilities to align vehicles. On the Sirhaul side, vehicles are channelised into proper lanes 150 metres ahead of the toll plaza, which does not happen here.”
Meanwhile, smaller public vehicles like maxi-cabs that ferry people between Manesar and Gurgaon — often carrying more passengers than capacity — also add to the problems.
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‘Not enough lanes to handle traffic flow’
The Kherki Daula toll plaza is one of the most important and nagging traffic impediments to the smooth flow of traffic in Gurgaon.
One of the basic reasons for traffic congestion at Kherki Daula toll plaza or KM-42 is the lack of adequate number of lanes to channelise the traffic. As per provisions, there was a proposal of an 18-lane toll plaza, but four of those lanes were not constructed initially due to non- acquisition of land.
Since 2008, the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) must address the issue on a priority basis and furnish such details as necessary to the apex court for an early disposal of the matter.
Besides the regular woes of the commuters, the once-booming realty sector of Gurgaon and its adjoining areas have also been hit by the incessant traffic hold-ups at the Kherki Daula and Sirhaul toll plazas.
The sale of upcoming residential sectors in the area, being developed by private parties, is being adversely affected due to the persistent traffic jams at the toll plazas. Prospective buyers mulling investing in residential flats here, think twice before putting their money in sectors near the Kherki Daula toll plaza.
The fact is that as per the notification of the ministry of road transport and highways following the guidelines issued by the Planning Commission of India, no toll plaza should be located within a distance of 10km of a municipal or local town. The Kherki Daula plaza grossly violates this directive as Gurgaon had been declared a municipal corporation a long time ago.