Traffic jams on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway seem to have become the order of the day. To find a way out of the perennial chaos and ease congestion at the toll plaza, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is pressing the expressway management firm, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DSCL), to add more lanes to the existing 32.
It has also suggested that the firm may opt for vertical expansion if no land is available for horizontal extension of the toll plaza.
The highway authority has asked DSCL officials to add 18 more lanes, taking the count up to 50, by setting up 10 toll lanes on one side and the rest on the other side.
Officials, however, said it was too early to comment on the design of the new toll plaza if it comes up over the existing one.
In 2009, NHAI had accorded in-principle approval to DSCL to add 16 more lanes and set up split toll plazas of eight lanes each on either side.
The firm, however, did not take any action citing non-availability of land near the toll plaza, NHAI officials said.
"Since traffic volume has increased tremendously on the Gurgaon expressway, the existing 32-lane toll plaza is unable to take the load. We have asked DSCL to add more lanes or go vertical and construct another toll plaza above the existing one," said RK Singh, chief project director, NHAI.
Singh said that according to the agreement, traffic volume should have been 120 vehicles per hour per lane (cash lane) and should have increased to 150 in the next ten years but the figure has already touched 500.
He added that setting up split toll plazas on either side at the ground level was not feasible as there were structures like Ambience Mall and hotels on either other making vertical expansion the only option.
When asked about the budget and who would foot the bill, NHAI officials said the firm could bear the cost of the additional facility and later claim its investment through arbitration.
"It is the responsibility of the toll management company to ensure smooth flow of traffic," Singh said.
DSCL clarified, "Detailed development plan (stage wise) along with cost implications has been provided to NHAI and the independent consultant after incorporating all modifications as suggested at various stages. The proposal along with land acquisition is under consideration by NHAI. To implement complete expansion, land acquisition is required for both toll plazas. A vertical plaza is not feasible due to structures on both sides at the toll plaza."