New traffic advisory for Ashram Chowk
Delhi Traffic Police on Saturday issued an elaborate traffic management plan for Ashram Chowk, one of the busiest intersections in the capital, with the work on an underpass that will connect the Nizamuddin railway overbridge and Mathura Road resuming after a prolonged lull first in the wake of Shaheen Bagh protest and then the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The 750-metre underpass which was conceived in December 2015 aims to provide a signal-free ride from Nizamuddin to New Friends Colony on Mathura Road. According to the traffic police advisory, the construction work would affect commuters between East Delhi, South Delhi, Faridabad and Noida for at least a year. The diversions will be implemented from Saturday between 7am and 10pm.
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).
While releasing the traffic diversion plan for the Ashram intersection, traffic police advised commuters to avoid the intersection because of the ongoing construction work.
“The construction work is expected to last until next year, so traffic management will be a problem here. There are hardly two lanes available for the movement of vehicles now,” said a senior traffic police official, explaining the situation on the stretch.
According to the traffic plan, private vehicles coming from Sarai Kale Khan and Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) Flyway going towards Badarpur or Faridabad, will now be directed towards CV Raman Marg before Ashram Flyover. From there they can take the Mata Mandir Marg, MA Jauhar Marg or Modi Mill flyover loop to reach Mathura Road.
Similarly, commuters coming from Dhaula Kuan side will be diverted towards Captain Gaur Marg under Lajpat Nagar flyover, from where they can take the Modi Mill Flyover via the Outer Ring Road and reach Mathura Road.
Goods vehicles destined towards Badarpur or Tughlakabad, from Sarai Kale Khan, will now have to take the Ashram flyover and make a left turn on Captain Gaur Marg from the Lajpat Nagar flyover crossing. Those coming from the other side (from Dhaula Kuan) will also have to use Captain Gaur Marg.
Traffic cops said that the Ashram crossing gets a daily load of nearly 4 lakh-4.5 lakh vehicles. In fact, from December last year, when the traffic movement towards Kalindi Kunj was blocked because of a sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh, this number to 6 lakh vehicles every day, according to a traffic police estimates.
“Ashram has remained a traffic management nightmare for us. From 2015 to the end of 2018, the stretch was dug up for Delhi Metro work and then when that opened and traffic jams were finally easing, the PWD has taken over,” another senior official of the local traffic circle said.
The underpass was to be completed by March 2018, but the expenditure finance committee of the Delhi government approval it in November 2018. After 2018, the project faced delays because of the delayed permissions, protests at Shaheen Bagh and then the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. “The work resumed by May end and we will require a year to complete the work,” the PWD confirmed.
Dr S Velmurugan, senior principal scientist at CRRI said the underpass will ease the perennial snarls on the Ashram intersection. “The construction period will be a problem, but that can be dealt with,” he said.