Despite promises by the highways authority and some work done by the highway concessionaire, the ambitious plan to redevelop entry/exits and important junctions on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has not met with much success.
At majority of these spots, the land required for expansion is either unavailable or owned by multiple civic agencies, which have not come on a single page despite daily snarls making life difficult for the common man.
Experts point out that redesigning the entry/exits and modifications at junctions such as Iffco Chowk, Shanker Chowk, Signature Tower and Rajiv Chowk will ensure more space for vehicles. This will also reduce congestion along the expressway and on the arterial roads that connect it to the city on the eastern and western sides.
There are 19 entry and 17 exit points on the expressway that need to be widened. Though the highway concessionaire MCEPL took steps to increase the length and widen a few, it is not enough.
A survey conducted under Gurgaon Manesar Urban Mobility Plan 2010 says, the speed of vehicles at junctions and entry/exit points is very low, leading to congestion due to the high traffic volume. “The lack of proper design is the reason there is more traffic on the service roads and less vehicles on the main carriageway. The entry and exit points should have been designed keeping in view the local and urban traffic,” Maxwell Pereira, former joint commissioner (traffic) of Delhi police, said.
Dr Sewa Ram, associate professor at School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, says, 15,000 vehicles pass through these junctions every hour during peak hours and this is the reason that jams are frequent. “Giving the right weaving distance and width to the outgoing and incoming traffic at the entry/exit points is crucial for merger and demerger of vehicles. Right now, there is only one lane for entry and exit whereas three more need to be given,” he says.
The capacity of the expressway can be improved if the junctions and entry/exits are properly channelised and turning restrictions modified scientifically. This, however, seems difficult because several government agencies, including the Huda, MCG, GAIL, HSIIDC and power departments have service lines, utilities and other systems close to the highway.
The commuters on the expressway also complain that despite the removal of the toll plaza at Sirhaul, the narrow entry/exit points near Shanker Chowk, Iffco Chowk (towards Sector 17/18) and Signature Towers, and the entry near Rajiv Chowk towards Delhi, are permanent choke points. “I get caught almost thrice on this road because there are too many vehicles trying to get on the main carriageway,” Pankaj Tomar from Gurgaon said.
CEO of MCEPL S Raghuraman says the concessionaire has done everything possible to improve traffic condition at the entry and exit points. “We have worked as per the concessionaire agreement and even improved the side roads but wherever land is not available, the civic agencies have to provide it to widen the entry/exits,” he said.
As far as junctions are concerned, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Haryana government are building underpasses at Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk and Signature Towers but these projects will need three years to complete.