The traffic on Ferozepur Road, which was diverted on an experimental basis for the first time on Saturday, gave nightmares to the traffic police and commuters as the decision resulted in traffic jams in some residential areas on the new route comprising Sarabha Nagar and BRS Nagar.
The city municipal corporation plans to divert traffic to the route it chose on Saturday during the construction of an underpass along the Sidhwan Canal.
The traffic police diverted the route from in front of gate number 1 of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) towards Sarabha Nagar in the morning. The traffic had to cover a 2.2-km loop before reaching the road next to Verka milk plant.
On Saturday, the diversion was in force from 9 am to 11 am, 4 pm to 6 pm and 7.30 pm to 9 pm.
The HT team travelled in a car on the new route in the morning to assess the situation and traffic flow. It was found on the way that there were traffic jams at several places. It took the HT team nearly 25 minutes to negotiate a distance of only 2.2 kilometres.
Traffic jams were there at the small and large intersections in the residential areas of Sarabha Nagar and BRS Nagar. Police personnel stationed at these intersections had to struggle hard to clear the traffic.
Experts had earlier asked the traffic police not to divert the traffic to residential areas and suggested other routes.
In the afternoon, the traffic police tried an alternative route. The traffic was sent straight on Ferozepur Road till Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib and then diverted to the road coming towards Ludhiana.
Cones were used as the divider. In the first phase of the construction of the underpass, the road will be closed to traffic headed to Ferozepur. In the second phase, the road will be closed to traffic coming from the other side.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic) J Elanchezhian said the police were trying all options. "We used different routes to check which one is the most feasible," he said.
The police had earlier planed to divert the traffic even in the evening. But, given the problems faced in the morning, dropped the idea.
City residents, meanwhile, felt that diverting traffic to residential areas was not a good idea. PAU student Sameer Sharma said he was stuck in the traffic jam for half-an-hour on Saturday morning. "There was heavy traffic rush in Sarabha Nagar area in the morning," Sharma said.
Punjab State Road Safety Council vice-chairman Kamaljeet Soi had earlier said that the traffic going towards Ferozepur should be diverted from opposite Nanaksar Gurdwara and then join Ferozpur Road after crossing the existing bridge.