The construction of flyovers and underpass at Iffco Chowk, which is part of the ongoing ambitious NHAI project to ease congestion along the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and lighten the load at major bottlenecks, could be fraught with challenges, as it is a complex intersection where vehicles converge from multiple points. At any time of day and especially in the peak morning and evening hours, it records an extremely heavy volume of traffic.
Highway authority officials admit that this intersection is a major challenge as traffic comes from Old Gurgaon, Sector 17/18 dividing road, Delhi, Jaipur and from the Sikanderpur side. The convergence of vehicular traffic in an irregular manner and presence of heavy petroleum utilities, which are still to be shifted is the reason that work on this project has been slower to take off as compared to Rajiv Chowk and Signature Tower.
The NHAI is building flyovers along the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway with a view to easing the pressure of traffic on known bottlenecks and putting an end to the chaotic vehicular movement that has turned Iffco Chowk into a perennial choke point.
As part of this project, one flyover will be built along Iffco Chowk that will facilitate the movement of vehicles from Jaipur to Delhi. Another will be built just ahead of Iffco chowk towards Jaipur near the cremation ground to enable vehicular movement from Shanker chowk, MG Road, HUDA City Centre to take an extended U-turn over the existing flyover and move towards Delhi. This will also help route these vehicles towards Udyog Vihar, Old Delhi Gurgaon road as well.
Another flyover, which will start from Jaipur towards Delhi, will route the vehicles from Old Gurgaon and Sector 17 and 18 dividing roads towards Rajiv Chowk and MG road on the Jaipur side after taking an extended U-turn over the existing flyover.
Another major construction would be an underpass that will take traffic from HUDA city centre to Sikanderpur. However, work on these projects have yet to hit top gear as major pipelines belonging to Indian Oil and the Gas Authority of India Ltd are yet to be shifted.
“We are in the process of shifting these utilities. The project is challenging as traffic comes from multiple sides but we have planned our work in a manner so that existing road space would be made available to motorists and commuters before digging starts” a senior NHAI consultant said.
An official of Gawar Constructions that has taken up this project said that they have started the road widening work on both sides of Iffco Chowk. “We will work in a way so that traffic movement is not hampered on site. We are working with the NHAI and traffic police to ensure the construction work does not harass commuters,” the Gawar official said.
However, the planners conceded that though it will represent a major infrastructure boost, the project could only ease congestion for 8 to 10 years. But he said if the concessionaire, the holder of a concession or grant for the use of land for trading rights, makes common cause with the NHAI and the police and bring in more manpower and hi-tech equipment to ensure stricter enforcement of road rules, the benefit could be extended for up to 20 years.
Anvita Arora, a senior transport expert, said it is yet to be assessed if the planners accounted for the movement of pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles while laying out the contours of the project. “A large number of pedestrians use this intersection and if their concerns are not taken into account, the project will only benefit motorists,” Arora said.
Manoj Kumar, CGM, NHAI, said the project provides for sidewalks and a space will also be marked for the movement of non-motorised vehicles. There will be foot overbridges and escalators for the commuters as well. “The interest of every road user are kept in mind while planning these projects. All amenities proposed in the project will be delivered on time,” Kumar said.
To ensure that the overhaul of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway presents a lasting solution to the traffic woes on the stretch, the experts advised that the construction of a flyover at Bakhtawar Chowk, underpasses at Huda City Centre and widening of the Old Jail Road be taken up on priority.
“Once the NPR and SPR roads become operational and the bottlenecks are cleared, things will improve significantly. Gurgaon will also witness more holistic planning and development with the coming of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority,” Sandeep Khirwar, commissioner of police, said.
However, Khirwar and the other stakeholders voiced confidence that project will improve the traffic situation in the city.