Plan to decongest 77 roads off to a slow start
On Thursday, Hindustan Times surveyed five of the 11 stretches and found that the works being carried out by different agencies only tweaked the existing infrastructure — a move the traffic police called “immediate measures”.Updated: May 17, 2019 05:14 IST
In May 2017, Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal had initiated a plan to decongest 77 corridors across the city with an aim to lower vehicular emissions and promote easy pedestrian movement.
Two years down the line, work on 11 of the 77 stretches is 70% complete, said traffic police, which is coordinating the project. While these were identified as priority stretches, work on the rest is being carried out in a piecemeal fashion.
On Thursday, Hindustan Times surveyed five of the 11 stretches and found that the works being carried out by different agencies only tweaked the existing infrastructure — a move the traffic police called “immediate measures”. While on some stretches, the alterations have worked in opening bottlenecks, and on others, it seemed, the agencies have miles to go.
According to Meenu Choudhary, joint commissioner of police (traffic), “The differences may not be so tangible because the idea was such only. These were immediate measures, which required minor works by different agencies,” she said adding that the long-term plans include erecting foot over bridges, building underpasses and so on. She attributed the delay to the many agencies working on the plan.
“The traffic police is the coordinating agency. The project has departments such as the Public Works Department (PWD), the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the municipal corporations and even the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). In any case, the Supreme Court is monitoring the project now. So there cannot be much delay as all agencies need to submit reports to it,” she said.
Calling it an ongoing process, the PWD said it is simultaneously working on stretches even beyond the first 11 corridors.
“Out of the 77 corridors, we have tasks lined up on about 66 such patches. We have carried out short-term works such as putting grilles on the central verge and building service lanes to name a few. The more long-term works such as FOBs or building a flyover at Shastri Park are at different stages of approvals,” said Umesh Mishra, chief engineer (projects), PWD.
Amit Kumar, 31, a resident of HR Block, Pul Prahladpur on Thursday said the main intersection in the area has seen a visible reduction in traffic snarls in the past six months. The intersection had a major design flaw as two bus stops located right at crossing on either side of the MB Road.
“Buses used to queue up at the stop and the place used to be a complete mess the moment a signal would go green. Now it is much better as the bus stops have been shifted away from the intersection with wider bays for buses to park,” he said.
However, moving beyond the intersections, traffic snarls still continue at Lal Kuan and the road that cuts across Ambedkar Nagar and Sangam Vihar. HT also found that even though new foothpaths were built, they were encroached and dumped with construction material.
To manage the heavy traffic flow in and out of Apollo Hospital, which had became a bottleneck in front of Sarita Vihar police station, the agencies have put jersey barriers on the cuts. This restricts motorists from taking a right or u-turn to go to Delhi.
But, the stretch ends up having frequent traffic snarls because motorists, including the police, take a right or u-turn going against the permitted flow of traffic. What has worked for the area is the service lane created for the people coming out of Apollo, who now have to take a long u-turn if they have to go towards Delhi.
The only thing HT found on this stretch was that jersey barriers were put on the road which has traffic coming from IIT or airport and leading to the Chirag Delhi crossing.
“The idea is good as it partially segregates the traffic going towards Alaknanda or Masjid Mod. But, the huddle to turn right starts way before the segregation begin, which created a mess,” said Urmil Tyagi, a resident of Alkaknanda.
The stretch is currently a bit chaotic with the NHAI working on airport expressway project. So far, the agencies have created a slip road for the traffic going to Subroto Park, which has eased some traffic. The road on the opposite carriageway (from airport to Delhi) has been widened.
But traffic still moves at a snail’s pace between the Dhaula Kuan metro station and Subroto Park.
Pratap Yadav, 45, a resident of Andrews Ganj, said the best change for him on Aurobindo Marg was organizing the parking at Yusuf Sarai market. “Until the parking was tightened here, cars would spill over on the road creating a huge traffic. This has been changed recently,” he said.
The PWD also has built a separate lane for the traffic going towards Malviya Nagar.
Experts welcomed the immediate improvement plans, but said the gains would fade if action against encroachment and illegal parking is not taken. “They had cleared encroachments on the Vikas Marg stretch, but much of it has come back. An FOB has also been built at Aurobindo Marg and at Yusuf Sarai. But, they are allowing two-wheelers to be parked under it. The business of implementing rules uniformly should be taken up seriously,” said Sanjay Gupta, head (transport and planning), School Planning and Architecture.