Tunnel bypass to decongest 3 traffic-intensive areas of Delhi
A tunnel underneath Pragati Maidan and underground U-turns, expected to be opened by Sept this year, will help decongest Mathura Road, Ring Road and Bhairon Marg.Updated: Mar 18, 2019 10:20 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Public Works Department (PWD) has been engaged in a massive infrastructure project aimed at decongesting one of the most traffic-intensive areas of Delhi and road arteries marred perennially by traffic jams. The Rs 777-crore project entails construction of a 1.2-km-long tunnel and six underpasses to make travel to India Gate and parts of central Delhi from different corners of the city a breeze.
The tunnel road, a first for Delhi, would go beneath the revamped Pragati Maidan. It will start near National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) on Purana Qila Road and end on the Ring Road near Pragati Power station. PWD officials, who claimed that at least half of the work on the project was already over, said they expect to finish by September.
People travelling from Noida, Ghaziabad and south and east Delhi will have a signal-free access to India Gate, Mathura Road and vice-versa. Officials said the project was designed keeping in mind the projected growth in traffic around Pragati Maidan, once the iconic exhibition grounds are opened in their new avatar as the state-of-the-art integrated convention centre.
One of the focus areas of the project was to unclog the ITO intersection. According to traffic department data, nearly 3.5 lakh vehicles pass through this intersection every day. Flanked by government offices and institutional buildings, ITO is a major hub of activity in the city. It stands as the last post of central Delhi and acts as a junction for those going towards eastern parts of Delhi. Despite construction of a new bridge over the Yamuna, widening of roads towards east Delhi, building of a grade separator over Ring Road for traffic going towards ISBT, ITO has remained notorious for traffic jams.
Over the years, the traffic police have taken several measures to re-route traffic coming from different directions to ensure minimum gridlocks. However, the sheer magnitude of vehicles merging at this intersection is such that it remains prone to gridlocks.
Currently the central Delhi, especially Connaught Place, bound motorists coming from Noida and Ghaziabad travel via ITO but once the project is completed they would be able to bypass this busy junction and reach their destination directly by using the tunnel. It will also help reduce traffic load on ITO.
Mathura Road serves as lifeline of the city as it is a crucial link for the commuters travelling to south and southeastern parts of the city and NCR towns such as Faridabad and Palwal. A number of traffic signals and rampant encroachments lead to frequent traffic snarls.
Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal last year had asked the PWD and the traffic department to decongest Mathura Road. Under the project, the PWD officials say, underground U-turns will replace traffic signals on the stretch between ITO and Sunder Nagar. This will provide the commuters a smooth access to ITO from Delhi Public School and vice-versa.
S Velmurugan, senior principal scientist, traffic engineering and safety division, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said that it was a “good” project which would have a positive impact in streamlining the traffic flow in the area. He, however, cautioned that the project would provide only temporary relief to the commuters travelling towards Ashram, New Friends colony via Mathura Road.
He said the present arrangement would smoothen traffic flow on Mathura Road only up to Bhogal and the commuters will get stuck at Ashram crossing which witnesses over 3 lakh vehicles per day.
“Free flowing traffic coming from ITO will get stuck at Ashram crossing as the work on a proposed underpass is yet to begin here. The authorities should build the underpass at Ashram crossing on priority basis. Once it is done, then the entire Mathura Road will be decongested,” Velmurugan said.
Planned as a ring (hence the name) around Delhi to decongest the city, the road was one of the first state highways. Over the years, as the city expanded, an outer ring road was also built. It is one of the most traffic heavy stretches in the city. Over the years, the agencies have tried to address the problem by constructing grade separators and flyovers. However, some particular stretches remain bottlenecks.
The stretch between Sarai Kale Khan and Indraprasthsa Metro station has become a problem area ever since National Highway-24 (Delhi-Meerut expressway) has been widened. The fast-moving traffic coming from NH-24 hits a roadblock at the Bhairon Marg intersection on the Ring Road with long tailbacks. After completion of the project this intersection on the Ring Road will be replaced with two loops to manage the traffic to and from Bhairon Marg.
A commuter Koushambi Singh, who lives in Noida, said that once the tunnel was ready, the travel time to her office in Connaught Place would be reduced drastically.
“It takes me over an hour to reach my office in Connaught Place either through ITO or NH-24. Once this project is done, I can reach my office in half an hour via India Gate from Noida by taking the tunnel,” she said.
First Published: Mar 18, 2019 10:20 IST