More diversions at Ashram for underpass construction
The Public Works Department (PWD) has asked the Delhi Traffic Police to increase diversions around the Ashram intersection from Friday onwards so that they can hasten work on a 750-metre underpass connecting Nizamuddin Railway Bridge and CSIR Apartments on the Mathura Road.
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.
Delhi traffic police on Thursday said that in order to speed up work on Ashram underpass, the PWD had requested them for closure of way for vehicles going straight towards Lajpat Nagar on the Ring Road and those taking a right turn from below the flyover to go towards Nizamuddin. The movement of vehicles on the Ashram flyover will not be impacted while this diversion plan is in place, the traffic police clarified.
“Due to the ongoing construction work of an underpass on Mathura Road at the Ashram crossing, the flow of traffic remains heavy, especially in the peak traffic hours. As a result, road users have been facing hardships while travelling through this stretch,” a statement issued by the traffic police on Thursday read.
It added, “To speed up the project work, the construction agency (PWD) has increased its resources and is now closing the straight and right turn passage for traffic coming from Sarai Kale Khan and Delhi-Noida-Direct Flyway under the Ashram flyover.”
The traffic police said that starting Friday, commuters will have to make a mandatory left turn onto the Mathura Road and take a U-turn from the New Friends Colony traffic signal to come back to the Ashram intersection in order to go towards Lajpat Nagar on the Ring Road or towards Nizamuddin on the Mathura Road.
“There is no diversion for straight moving traffic on the Ashram flyover on both carriageways. General public is hereby advised to plan their travel accordingly,” the traffic police said.
Traffic police had started diverting traffic on a trial basis on Wednesday and Thursday for a few hours during non-rush hours of morning and evening to assess the impact of the new route on vehicular traffic. This was also done as an assessment to finalise the new traffic diversion plan for the extension of the Ashram flyover, police confirmed.
The Delhi traffic police are also working on a diversion plan for the extension of the Ashram flyover. The PWD has already placed barricades on the Kilokri side and on the Maharani Bagh side of the Ring Road, which has further thinned down space for traffic movement. Senior traffic officials said that the final traffic diversion plan for the upcoming project is likely to be finalised in two weeks.
“We had raised this concern with the PWD that simultaneous digging around the Ashram intersection will lead to a major traffic chaos. If this is the last leg of construction of the underpass then once the intersection is cleared, we can work on the diversion plan for the Ring Road,” a senior traffic 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 the Mathura Road will be cleared and this can act as a diversion for traffic. The current deadline for the completion of the underpass is April 31.
Ashram intersection is one of the busiest intersections of the city, from where every day over 3.5 lakh vehicles pass during peak traffic hours.
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.
Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said that things were bad even when the Ring Road was acting as an alternative route to Mathura Road, where digging work has been going on since December last year. Now, he said, the intersection will get harder to negotiate.“The Mathura Road and Ring Road are crossing each other on the intersection, and if simultaneous work is initiated, then there would be no clear route for traffic to move,” he said. “Even if the initiation of the flyover extension has to be postponed a little, the way to go is to wrap up work on one road first and then move on to the other. This will make traffic management easier for the agencies.”