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Congestion near airport?

The scene on the approach roads to the airports is just as bad as air congestion, reports Sidhartha Roy.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2007 02:34 IST

Air congestion is not the only problem plaguing the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the domestic airport. The scene on the approach roads to the airports is just as bad. Overcrowded roads, cars honking, moving bumper-to-bumper, and jaywalkers adding to the chaos.

So what if Delhi International Airport (Private) Limited (DIAL) is upgrading the airports to world class standards, you may ask. Well, now you can heave a sigh of relief.

DIAL had roped in the Transport Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP) of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi in May last year to ease the traffic outside the airports. The research team of IIT-Delhi then carried out a study on traffic circulation outside IGIA and the domestic airport.

The research team did come up with a set of recommendations soon after, and many of them have already been adopted by DIAL. But then the argument is that the mayhem on the approach roads continues even today. That’s when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) itself stepped in, instructing DIAL to decongest areas in the airport’s vicinity.

“We found that it was extremely difficult for passengers to cross the road outside domestic terminal 1-B due to heavy traffic,” said a senior DGCA official. “The condition was particularly bad during the foggy days. Passengers faced a tough time reaching the terminal from portacabins on the other side of the road. The DGCA has asked DIAL to do come up with a permanent solution,” he said.

DIAL has now deployed private security guards to ensure smooth movement of vehicles outside the airports. “We have also requested the Delhi Traffic Police to deploy some more personnel on the troublespots,” a DIAL spokesman said.

On behalf of TRIPP (IIT-Delhi), Associate Professor Geetam Tiwari said, “We are still in the process of conducting studies on traffic decongestion and parking at the airport. It will be completed in a few months. We want to change the traffic circulation pattern outside the airports so that the circulation conflict that we see today can be sorted out.”

Tiwari said recommendations like keeping the baggage trolleys outside the terminal have been carried out, but some problem areas remain. “The traffic congestion at the roundabout near the airport exit can be managed better,” she said.

There is little scope for redesigning as of now, with DIAL working on an interim terminal between the existing departure terminal 1-A and the arrival terminal. “DIAL is working on a new terminal. Things would be clearer once the new terminal comes up and a larger parking space is created,” Tiwari said.

Similarly, the DIAL spokesman said, “With the new terminal, the traffic flow and access areas would change, and the existing 1-B departure terminal would also cease to exist. The design changes for traffic flow would have to be done accordingly.”

Email Sidhartha Roy: sidhartha .roy@hindustantimes.com