Bridge closure in Delhi’s Maharani Bagh chokes Ring Road
Movement of pedestrians after the closure of a foot overbridge in south Delhi’s Maharani Bagh— just ahead of the busy Ashram crossing— is causing traffic snarls that extend to around half-a-kilometre on the busy Ring Road, especially during morning and evening peak hours.
Ever since the bridge was shut on Sunday, pedestrians have been crossing the arterial road at the surface level, hampering traffic movement.
Long tailbacks of vehicles can be seen on both the carriageways of Ring Road between Ashram crossing and the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway.
The pedestrian bridge has been shut due to its dilapidated condition and the public works department (PWD) has decided to dismantle it.
Hindustan Times on Wednesday visited the spot and found that the snarls persisted even during off-peak hours as traffic was moving at a snail’s pace on both carriageways of the arterial road.
On the carriageway towards Ashram from Sarai Kale Khan, there were long queues of vehicles extending up to the DND flyway’s entry point. Similarly, on the other carriageway, traffic tailback was extending till the Ashram flyover.
Pedestrians were seen manoeuvring the traffic by risking their lives to get to the other side of the road. A zebra crossing had been drawn but it was not helping much as there were no traffic personnel to assist people.
The PWD and traffic officials say the problem is expected to continue for a couple months until some permanent solution is implemented.
Locals say the situation is worse during peak hours.
“We have been witnessing around a half-a-kilometre traffic jam every day ever since the FOB was closed for pedestrian movement. During peak hours, the entire Ashram flyover is clogged as pedestrians now cross the Ring Road at the surface level. Similarly, on the other side of the road, the jam extends even beyond the entry point of the DND,” Pradeep Chowdhary, who runs a restaurant in neighbouring Kilokari village market, said.
The FOB was constructed in 2004-05 for pedestrians and residents of Maharani Bagh, Kilokari village, Siddharth Extension and Sunlight colony to cross the arterial road, which sees heavy volume of traffic.
Commuters said traffic on Ring Road was never smooth but the FoB’s closure made the situation worse.
“I am stuck in the jam for the last 10 minutes and have not moved even 100 metres. The authorities should take some concrete measures, which will not only ease traffic but also ensure safety of pedestrians while crossing the road,” Ramneek Singh, a regular commuter on the stretch, said.
Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), said the authorities should go for traffic-calming measures for the safety of pedestrians.
“The PWD should plan a subway here to smoothen traffic. However, a traffic signal can be put up as a temporary relief to pedestrians. Pedestrians crossing Ring Road at grade would only lead to traffic woes,” he said.
The PWD has written to the traffic department to install a traffic signal near the pedestrian bridge so that people can cross the road easily.
A senior traffic official said the PWD recommendations would be implemented. In the meantime, traffic officials are sen directing pedestrians to cross the stretch below the Ashram flyover.