Work on underpass near Mahipalpur causes kilometres-long jam on NH8
The approximately 700-metre underpass is being constructed near the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) office to link the Delhi airport with Vasant Kunj. Officials of the central public works department (CPWD), which is executing the project, said commuters would not get any respite until mid-January, when a portion of the work is likely to be completed.
The construction of an underpass on National Highway-8 near Mahipalpur in south Delhi is causing traffic snarls that extend to several kilometres on the busy Delhi-Gurugram Expressway, especially during morning and evening peak hours.
The root of the problem is a 10-metre uneven patch, caused by the construction of the underpass.
Officials of the central public works department (CPWD), which is executing the project, said commuters would not get any respite until mid-January, when a portion of the work is likely to be completed.
The approximately 700-metre underpass is being constructed near the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) office to link the Delhi airport with Vasant Kunj.
Because of this uneven stretch,high-speed traffic from Gurugram, Dwarka and Dhaula Kuan gets stuck near the SSB office in Mahipalpur, with long tailbacks as a cascading effect. Motorists commuting between Delhi and Gurugram have to negotiate heavy traffic every day.
According to commuters, vehicles from Gurugram and Dwarka have to slow down because of the bumps on the road, which causes an over 6-km tailback till Rajokri flyover during peak hours.
Similar is the situation on the other carriageway (Delhi-Gurugram side) with more than a kilometre-long tailback till Shankar Vihar on NH-8.
“I was going to Connaught Place from Dwarka last week but was stuck in the jam on NH-8 near Mahipalpur. It took me over an hour to cross only a kilometre-long stretch on a holiday. Mahipalpur has become a big bottleneck as it is the first spot where seamless traffic coming from Gurugram gets clogged,” said a commuter Esha Dhawan.
President of the Dwarka Forum, Rejimon CK, who uses the stretch to reach his office in south Delhi, said the spot had become a sort of a huge speed-breaker.
“This is probably the one and only example in the world where such underground digging resulted in this kind of shoddy work. In Delhi, DMRC and other agencies dig up roads but to date, no such incident has occurred. Because of this uneven road, the entire road is jammed and commuters suffer,” CK, who lives in Dwarka, said.
CPWD officials said the problem is expected to continue till mid-January until work under the highway is completed.
A senior CPWD official, on the condition of anonymity, said blocking the road and stopping traffic for construction was not possible on the busy NH-8 and so they decided to adopt the “box pushing” technique to build the underpass.
The official said due to pushing of precast concrete boxes, a small portion of the highway on both of its carriageways had turned uneven.
“We repair it regularly at an interval of 2-3 days, but the bumps reappear. It is wrong to compare DMRC’s tunneling projects with this one as here we are digging up two to three metres below the surface, while metro projects are carried out 15 to 20 metres below the ground. We are expecting to complete the work by January 15 next year and till then the inconvenience is likely to persist,” the official said.
The underpass is part of the ₹188-crore Mahipalpur bypass project of the central government. The project envisages providing a smooth ride between Vasant Kunj and the Delhi airport through an underpass and two flyovers. The deadline is March 2019.