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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Brace for snarls as work on underpass at Ashram Chowk to begin in Sept

The PWD had written to the Delhi traffic police last month requesting them to formulate a diversion plan for the stretch.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2019 02:14 IST
Ashish Mishra and Soumya Pillai
Ashish Mishra and Soumya Pillai
New Delhi
Traffic snarls are expected to return at south Delhi’s Ashram intersection in the coming months with the Public Works Department (PWD) set to the begin construction of an underpass there next month.
Traffic snarls are expected to return at south Delhi’s Ashram intersection in the coming months with the Public Works Department (PWD) set to the begin construction of an underpass there next month.
         

Traffic snarls are expected to return at south Delhi’s Ashram intersection in the coming months with the Public Works Department (PWD) set to the begin construction of an underpass there next month.

The PWD had written to the Delhi traffic police last month requesting them to formulate a diversion plan for the stretch.

Traffic police officials said they will finalise the diversion plan before the construction begins. “We had diverted traffic on this stretch during the Metro (Pink Line) construction. Being an important arterial road, the idea will be to facilitate the construction work without affecting the vehicular movement much,” said a senior Delhi Traffic Police official.

The official, however, said that once the construction begins on the section, traffic on stretches around New Friends Colony (NFC), Lajpat Nagar, Jangpura and Nizamuddin is likely to be hit. Signage alerting commuters of diversions will be put up a week before the construction agency begins work, the official said.

Deadline of the project, which envisages construction of 750 metre-long underpass along Mathura Road at the busy intersection, is July 2020.

“Preparatory works such as site marking, site survey and utility identification has started on the ground. The construction work is likely to begin by the end of September. We have also written to the traffic department to make alternate arrangements to handle the vehicular movement so that the motorists do not have to face much inconvenience,” a PWD official said on the condition of anonymity.

The Ashram Chowk is an important link between central and south Delhi with the satellite towns of Noida and Faridabad. The intersection connects Mathura Road, National Highway-2 and the Ring Road (linking Lajpat Nagar-Sarai Kale Khan and DND Flyover). During peak hours, massive jams are common on Mathura Road and Ashram flyover.

Traffic police data shows that around 3 lakh vehicles cross the Ashram intersection every day during peak traffic hours. Vehicular traffic in the area shot up after the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) Flyway was made toll-free in 2016 and with the widening of NH-24 in June last year. South Delhi-bound traffic from east Delhi and Noida uses this stretch. Once the project is completed, it would benefit commuters taking the busy Ashram crossing and would ease the ride towards Faridabad.

The Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) — the apex body for approving infrastructure projects in the city — had approved the underpass in January 2016 for signal-free ride from Nizamuddin to New Friends Colony on Mathura Road. It was to be completed by March 2018 but the project was delayed for want of financial approval. The project was given financial approval by the expenditure finance committee (EFC) of the Delhi government in November 2018.

Another official, privy to the development, said that the underpass would be constructed through “cut and cover” technique – a method where road cutting is required -- which would require traffic diversions on the Mathura Road. Signage and barricades have also been transported to the construction site.

Senior PWD officials said that for several projects the city the department has used the ‘box and push’ method, where a box is placed into the tunnel and pushed through the construction route without having to disturb the traffic flow of the road going above the tunnel. This method is usually used for construction in areas where the traffic volume is high.

“Box and push technique can be adopted at the sites where there are no utilities. But in the case of Ashram underpass, the construction work is complex due to high number of utilities such as power cables, sewer lines, gas lines among others,” the official said.

First Published: Aug 15, 2019 23:12 IST

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