Delhi traffic police test new diversion plan for Ashram flyover extension
Delhi traffic police on Wednesday began trials on a diversion plan that will see vehicles on the Ring Road and Delhi-Noida-Direct Flyway being redirected as the Ashram flyover is extended. Traffic officials said that this was an assessment to see how the traffic flow would be impacted during peak rush and non-rush hours, once the diversions are put in place for construction work.
On Wednesday, vehicles coming from east Delhi and Noida via the DND, going towards Lajpat Nagar, were not allowed to take the Ashram flyover. Instead, the traffic was diverted to Mathura Road, from where they had to take a U-turn from the New Friends Colony traffic signal and then take a left turn on the Ring Road towards Lajpat Nagar.
This diversions were first put in place for four hours between 11am and 3pm, before being again implemented after 7pm.
Senior traffic police officials said that the diversion was lifted and traffic movement was normal during the peak traffic hours — between 8am and 11am, and then again between 3 pm and 7pm.
“Since this was the first day, we tried the route only during the non-rush hours, so that there are no major traffic holdups. We will be trying this route and different permutations of it in the coming days before a final diversion plan is approved for the Public Works Department (PWD),” said a traffic police official.
The official also said that this was not the final diversion plan that will be in place once work for the extension of the Ashram flyover is started.
“Since this stretch is among the busiest, and it already has some ongoing construction work, formulating a traffic plan for minimum inconvenience to commuters is becoming a little tricky. But we will come up with the best route. We are likely to release the final traffic plan in two weeks,” the official said.
Traffic police and PWD officials confirmed that the construction agency had sent a request to divert traffic on the Ring Road in January this year, to initiate work for the extension of the Ashram flyover.
In their permission request, the PWD had stated that the construction work of the underpass at the intersection was in its final leg, and before any major digging work begins on the Ring Road, the barricades placed on Mathura Road will be cleared and this will act as a diversion for traffic. The current deadline for the completion of the underpass is April 31.
Hindustan Times had on Tuesday reported how the simultaneous construction work at and around the Ashram intersection, from where every day over 3.5 lakhs vehicle pass during peak traffic hours, is likely to cause a traffic nightmare for commuters.
The Public Works Department (PWD) last month started work on extending the Ashram flyover on Ring Road, even as work on a 750-metre Ashram underpass is going on after already missing its deadline. These two projects running simultaneously has made one of the Capital’s most crucial intersections — one that connects south and central Delhi, and virtually serves as the connection for two NCR cities Noida and Faridabad — a nightmare for commuters.
After missing its December deadline, the PWD is yet to finish work for the 750-metre underpass connecting Nizamuddin Railway Bridge and CSIR Apartments on Mathura Road. A week ago, the PWD also started placing barricades on the Kilokri side and on the Maharani Bagh side of the Ring Road, which has further thinned down space for traffic movement.
Experts said that the PWD is “biting more than it can chew” and this will ultimately result in long and mismanaged traffic on the stretch. The impact of this is also likely to spillover to adjoining roads, including Sarai Kale Khan, Noida Link Road, Meerut Expressway, and the Ring Road.
“What we are seeing at Ashram is a classic example of poor site management from traffic and safety point of view, and the agency is repeating the same mistakes by undertaking work on the Ring Road before wrapping up the underpass project. How does the agency expect Mathura Road to take the load of the flyover, when large portions of it are barricaded?” said Subhash Chand, head of traffic engineering and safety division at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).