Iffco Chowk -- one of the busiest points at the heart of Gurgaon -- is a perfect example of how an intersection should not be designed inside a city. The traffic from MG Road, service lanes of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and the Sector 17/18 road converge at this junction, leading to heavy congestion.
During peak hours, almost 15,000 passenger car units (PCUs) cross this junction and the bumper to bumper traffic means pedestrians and cyclists do not get any share of the road space.
Iffco Chowk is a four-arm junction and the intersection is controlled by a traffic signal. The high volume of traffic from the MG Road and the expressway, and the missing zebra crossings and bus shelters mar the experience of commuters, whether they are in cars or on foot.
Sanjeev Thakur, a commuter, says that the jam at Iffco Chowk has been ever increasing despite the traffic police trying measures such as extended u-turns. “Chaos prevails all time and no one benefits because of the lack of vision and planning,” he said.
Car users say that the entry and exit points at Iffco Chowk are narrow, and because of the large volume of vehicles, there is frequent congestion during peak hours. The extended u-turn has solved some problems at this intersection but the jam has now shifted to MG Road.
Prior to the extended u-turn that the traffic police introduced recently, the signal cycle time exceeded five to six minutes. The largest volume of vehicles at this junction is between 9 and 10am and 7 and 8pm. Most of the traffic is headed towards Sukhrali and Sikanderpur Chowk.
A non-functional bus-stand that was developed by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon towards the Jaipur side compounds the problems at Iffco Chowk. The traffic police had asked the civic body to maintain it several times but in vain. The result is that people wait for buses on the service lane that is already encroached upon by vendors.
Vehicles coming from Huda city centre are also a major cause of jams at this junction.
Road management experts say unless this intersection is treated as an interchange point, things will not improve.
Amit Bhatt, who heads Embarq India, says that thousands of people use this chowk daily to reach different places across Gurgaon and NCR. However, the design of the junction does not ensure a smooth traffic flow.
Slow moving traffic from Sector 17/18 dividing road is also a major cause of concern for the traffic police. Apart from that, waterlogging and potholes on various stretches compound the problems, particularly during monsoon.
Experts say that the congestion at Iffco Chowk can be reduced only by redesigning the channelizing islands for the left turning traffic towards NH-8. Besides, installation of pedestrian crossings, a well-designed autorickshaw stand, and alterations in cycle lengths of traffic signal are also needed.
Dr Sewa Ram, a transport expert, says that these measures can be accommodated within the existing right of way and without acquiring additional land. He, however, recommends that it should be developed as a major traffic interchange point that allows people to move effortlessly towards MG Road and Iffco Chowk Metro stations. “There is also a need to improve the signage at this junction,” he says.
Highway administrator Ashok Sharma said that an underpass and several other interim measures are planned to decongest this junction. “The underpass will be a major solution,” he said.