Potholed roads, dysfunctional traffic lights, irresponsible motorists — these could spell chaos at any major thoroughfare of the world. And when it comes to the ill-managed Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and one of its most important junctions, Iffco Chowk, the end product is traffic chaos.
Iffco Chowk — the link to the city's go-to place, Mall Mile, and the bridge between Old Gurgaon and its swankier cousin — has become a converging point of chaos and traffic woes, thanks to a long buffet of issues.
"Gurgaon needs to tackle issues regarding the five major crossings — Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower, Rana Pratap or MDI Chowk, Atul Kataria Chowk and Shankar Chowk. These need to be provided with two-way flyovers," said RS Rathee, vice-president of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti, a conglomerate of over 60 resident welfare associations of Gurgaon.
However, as is the case with anything associated with the expressway, all the authorities associated with the upkeep of this junction seem to be passing the buck.
"Traffic flow near Iffco Chowk tends to slow down due to the converging traffic. The slip road and other adjoining roads are sometimes unable to cater to the traffic load. We have positioned our traffic marshals at the entry and exit points near Iffco Chowk, but since they do not have the authority to ensure compliance we request the traffic police to step in. This needs to be done on a continuing basis," said a spokesperson of expressway concessionaire firm DGSCL.
HT found out that most of the plastic barriers put up by the concessionaire to segregate traffic are either broken or totally absent at most places. The slip roads around the intersection, especially towards the Mall Mile, need immediate repair.
The road that connects the Mall Mile to the service road leading to Rajiv Chowk bears a huge crater with exposed sewer lines. The slip road that connects Iffco Chowk to the Mall Mile from the side of Shanker Chowk is broken as well.
"We have stationed nearly 15 personnel at the intersection to ease the traffic. But, Iffco Chowk needs engineering changes, which are possible only after Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) intervenes. Huda administrator Praveen Kumar has visited the site and we are waiting for action," said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Bharti Arora.
Meanwhile, Kumar has assured that the slip roads would soon be repaired. "As the matter has come to light, the problem would be fixed soon. We will repair and restore the slip roads on a priority basis," said the Huda administrator.
But, the buck does not stop here as the people also are to blame, said traffic police personnel. "The public is too eager to jump the light. We direct errant cabs and bus drivers to obey rules, but nobody listens to us," said a traffic cop.
The authorities' plans of introducing intelligent traffic lights in the area also seem to have lost steam and traffic management here is reportedly manual. "Red lights here are mostly out of order. One of the lights just flashes red and not green. The management is primarily manual," he added.