Officials said that the four-inch patch was excavated and repair work is underway. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Officials said that the four-inch patch was excavated and repair work is underway. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Patch of Delhi-Gurgaon e-way caves in at border, causes 10-minute snarl

Most of the cave-in took place on the barricaded lanes of the expressway that are being used for the construction of the Ambience Mall underpass
By Kartik Kumar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JUL 20, 2021 10:50 PM IST

A four-foot patch of the main carriageway of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway caved in on Tuesday morning due to heavy rainwater accumulation inside an under-construction underpass near the Sirhaul toll.

The cave-in took place on the carriageway leading to Gurugram, said officials.

Most of the cave-in took place on the barricaded lanes of the expressway that are being used for the construction of the Ambience Mall underpass, with only a small patch of the main carriageway affected. However, commuters said that this increased their travel time by 10 minutes.

“Due to the Ambience Mall underpass construction, there is anyways a minor snarl at the border crossing, due to the limited road width. The reduced cave-in resulted in an additional 10-minute delay than usual to cross the stretch,” said Manik Singh, a resident of DLF-5.

Traffic police officials deployed at the spot said that measures were taken swiftly to ensure no mishap occurs due to the cave-in. “We took stock of the situation as soon as we were informed about the cave-in and managed to cover it before any untoward incident. Officials were stationed at the spot and ensured vehicle movement never came to a standstill and there was just a minor snarl,” said Karan Singh, traffic inspector (highway), Gurugram traffic police.

Around 7am, traffic police officials were alerted and they barricaded 20 metres of the affected portion with the help of traffic cones, concrete and plastic jersey barriers. Vehicles were diverted on the three other lanes of the carriageway. The traffic police officials also issued an update on social media around 5pm, informing commuters about the cave-in.

The Ambience Mall underpass is expected to open by September, with work on around 15 metres of the 377 metre-long underpass remaining.

Kunal Garg, project manager, RK Contractor, the concessionaire of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the Ambience Mall underpass, said that originally, the cave-in was four feet wide, and later, it was excavated with machines so that the upper surface of the remaining portion of the underpass could be boxed with reinforced concrete slabs. As a temporary measure, the su

“Due to the pending work on shifting a gas pipeline, work on a 15-metre portion of the underpass is remaining. A high volume of rainwater accumulated inside the underpass and without any concrete slab on top of the remaining 15-metre portion, the water came in contact with the exposed road surface, leading to the cave-in,” said Garg.

Garg said that rainwater accumulation inside the underpass has been a common occurrence but this time around, the volume was much higher due to the intensity of the rains on Sunday and Monday, when the city recorded 185mm of cumulative rain, according to the India Meteorological Department.

“We would always pump it out with motor pumps soon after (it filled up). Most of the rainwater usually drains out from the underpass’ surface drain itself. However, this time around, the intensity of rain was too much. Provided there is no more rain, we will be able to pump out all the rainwater within 24 hours, with the help of a 15-horsepower motor pump,” said Garg.

Garg said that once the rainwater is removed and the skies clear up, casting work will commence. “Once the weather clears up, we will execute casting work on the remaining 15-metre portion, which would take us two days to complete. Post casting, the concrete takes three weeks to reach its optimum strength. Everything combined, the affected portion will open after a period of one month,” said Garg.

Nirman Jambulkar, project director, NHAI, said, “Our main focus currently is to ensure that no vehicles pass over the affected stretch. Most of our resources is allocated towards diverting vehicles through safely. We are ascertaining the cause of the cave-in and will accordingly take action.”

It is not the first time rainwater accumulation in an under-construction underpass affected the structural integrity of road infrastructure.

In September 2019, rainwater accumulated up to a height of seven feet inside the Iffco Chowk underpass, threatening the foundation of entire the MG Road stretch and a petrol pump located above the underpass.

“The cave-in shows that quality of construction is being compromised. There was already an orange alert issued for Monday and Tuesday regarding high rainfall. Officials in charge should have foreseen the issues arising from it and accordingly taken precautionary measures,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, a road safety expert with Nagarro.

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