ITO going under triggers massive traffic spillovers across Delhi
Parts of central Delhi's ITO and Mathura Road were submerged due to flooding
Parts of central Delhi’s ITO and Mathura Road were submerged on Friday even as the army and the navy were deployed to bring the flooding under control.
Commuters on Vikas Marg spent hours wading through inundated roads, while the Delhi Traffic Police said that vehicular movement will be closed on Saturday on the stretch on both the carriageways — from Laxmi Nagar to ITO and vice-versa -- due to the waterlogging.
Officials said that the situation worsened on the stretch after a drain regulator broke down at 7pm on Thursday even as five of the 32 gates at the barrage along the old ITO bridge were also jammed, causing a swollen Yamuna to enter one of the busiest traffic junctions of Delhi.
SS Yadav, special commissioner of police (traffic), said that traffic restrictions will continue till the roads are cleared of the waterlogging. “We have restricted and regulated traffic on many roads. These roads will be commutable once the water level recedes in the affected areas. Till then, we don’t have any option other than to impose traffic restrictions,” said Yadav.
“Till the situation gets normal, we’ve advised commuters to avoid these stretches and take alternative routes such as NH24 via Akshardham-Nizamuddin. We’ve also restricted vehicular movement on Mahatma Gandhi Marg on both the carriageways from Sarai Kale Khan towards Rajghat and vice-versa. Similarly, carriageways near the IP road flyover will also have restricted movement,” he said.
The closures of the two trans-Yamuna links meant the heavy traffic flow to and from East Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad was funnelled to just two routes -- NH24 and DND, which became congested.
Vehicular movement from Shanti Van towards Geeta Colony flyover will also be restricted. “Floodwater reached the Supreme Court... We had to close the traffic on Bhairon Road,” added Yadav. According to an advisory issued by the Delhi Traffic Police on Friday evening, vehicular movement was closed on Bhairon Marg, Ring Road-IP Depot to IP flyover to Majnu Ka Tilla, Old Iron Bridge to Shamshan Ghat, Salimgarh bypass, and Mukarba Chowk to Wazirabad, Outer Ring Road, etc.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal requested the chief secretary to rope in the Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to expedite the repair of the broken regulator. Officials said that the water level was around three to four feet high, despite damage control efforts lasting the entire night. On Friday evening, Kejriwal tweeted that one jammed gate had been opened.
During an operation that lasted about 15 hours till 2pm on Friday, over 18,000-20,000 sandbags were dumped in drains, with help from the Delhi Jal Board, Public Works Department, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, NDRF and the Army.
Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) department officials said that repair and management efforts were initiated within an hour after the regulator bent, by dumping gunny bags in the drain to create a bund.
The Engineering Core of the Indian Army with three officers, six JCOs and 45 jawans, apart from other workmen, have completed about 80% of the work on restoring the bund, said a statement from the lieutenant governor’s office. A second I&FC officer said that they will start pumping out water by Saturday. If the water level does not increase further, we should be able to pump out all excess water in two days,” said the officer.