Delhi-Noida border congestion: What can be done to decongest DND Flyway

By, Noida
Mar 17, 2023 12:09 AM IST

Experts say opening of the Ashram flyover is not the problem as it has not led to any increase in traffic

Ever since the Ashram flyover opened to traffic last week, commuters in Delhi have found much relief from traffic congestion woes. But that is not the case of those commuting to Noida daily -- they still have to contend with thick congestion as soon as they cross the Delhi border.

traffic jam near Film City in Noida on March 15. (PTIA)
traffic jam near Film City in Noida on March 15. (PTIA)

However, both commuters and traffic experts say the problem is neither new, nor without solutions.

Experts say opening of the Ashram flyover is not the problem as it has not led to any increase in traffic. The Dadri Surajpur Chhalera (DSC) road that goes on to merge with the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway has been a sore point since the past several years as the vehicles keep increasing. Apart from that, a 5km stretch from Mayur Vihar in Delhi to Mahamaya flyover in Noida, with multiple entry/exit points remains permanently choked during peak hours.

Problem 1: High traffic volume

“We need to stop thinking that the Ashram flyover is the problem, because it is not. Those who come to Noida every day were commuting on the route earlier as well. And this traffic will only increase in the next few years. What is needed here is that the road capacity in Noida is augmented like it was done in Delhi. Noida needs to urgently upgrade its road network,” said Sewa Ram, professor, transport planning, School of planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi.

He explained that the problem was the difference between the arrival rate and discharge rate of vehicles. Earlier, there was “gating (hindrances to flow of traffic)”, so traffic was staggered within Delhi itself and reached Noida gradually. With the opening on Ashram flyover, the situation has changed; now a large volume of vehicles reaches Noida around the same time, and the Noida stretch is not ready to handle the vehicle load.

“A large number of vehicles is entering Noida at the same time and at a high speed, making the arrival rate high. But the discharge rate is low as only a small number of vehicles is able to exit the stretch at the same time. This leads to vehicles queuing up. The simple and only solution is augmenting capacity on the Noida side,” said Sewa Ram.

According to a traffic study by the UP Bridge Corporation in February 2019, the Noida-Delhi border near the Chilla entry gate already sees 221,000 vehicles every day. While some of these vehicles go on to take a detour, the others stay the course to Mahamaya flyover, where a traffic count of 191,000 vehicles daily has been recorded.

Problem 2: Nine lanes merge into 3 at DND loop

Further on, near the DND Flyway loop comes the biggest challenge for traffic officials. There are three lanes near Film City coming from Chilla border or DSC road. To these, two lanes of the DND Flyway, two lanes of Kalindi Kunj and two lanes from within Noida (Sector 18 area) merge. Basically, nine lanes of traffic merge into three lanes.

Experts said the best long-term solution to such congestion is good quality public transport; so that the need for using private vehicles reduces. Short-term solutions also include introducing speed-calming measures, increasing lanes near the DND exit if possible, staggering vehicles and removing bottlenecks after exiting the flyway.

Solution 1: Stagger traffic flow

“Lane balancing is a strategy used to manage the number of vehicles in each lane and control speed. Staggering vehicles gradually from six lanes to four, then three and so on can help at this point. That way, vehicles do not suddenly see a narrow passage from a wide flyway. Alternatively, increasing the width near the exit or widening the mouth of the exit is also an option,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder, Raahgiri Foundation.

While some measures, such as closing U-turns, can be taken to make traffic flow smoother, Noida has to speed up the Chilla elevated road (Chilla to Mahamaya), which will allow traffic to bypass this stretch.The elevated road has remained stalled for over two years now.

Planners and road safety experts say the enhanced connectivity between Delhi and Noida has been pivotal to the overall development of the region and responsible agencies in Noida should not ignore the transportation and congestion problem for long.

“Noida developed primarily because of its easy accessibility to Delhi. When that accessibility is hampered by acute congestion, it will not be good for Noida. It has been seen that high congestion index is directly related to reduced investment in many cities across India and worldwide. Noida needs to learn from those examples,” said Sewa Ram.

Solution 2: Chilla elevated Road

As officials and experts agree that the road has reached its full capacity, the only long-term solution is to increase space available for vehicles by widening the road or constructing an elevated road. What was meant to save the day —Chilla elevated road—has long surpassed its completion deadline of December 2021 and is still nowhere near ready.

The 5.5km six-lane elevated road is being constructed at a cost of 605 crore. Once built, it is expected to ease congestion on the DSC road and Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and reduce travel time between Chilla and Mahanaya to about five minutes. The flyover will run parallel to Shahdara drain and connect Chilla regulator area near Mayur Vihar in Delhi with Mahamaya flyover in Noida.

The construction is being carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Bridge Corporation Limited and the cost of the project is to be borne equally by Noida authority and the state government. However, releasing funds have become a problem, said officials.

“After the agreement in 2019 that the state and Noida authority will bear the cost 50-50, 70 crore was released by the authority for initial work that started in December 2019. Initial ground work was done along with some piling work. However, funds were not released by the state after that. The work had to be stopped at the end of 2020. SInce then, we have written to authorities concerned multiple times, but the funds have not been disbursed,” said Vijay Rawal, senior project engineer, Noida authority.

Officials said that the last letter was sent on February 13 this year to the PWD, seeking the release of funds for the Chilla elevated road.

SP Singh from traffic cell of Noida authority said a consultant is being hired to conduct a fresh study of the entire stretch and propose solutions.

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