‘Hole’ in Gurugram’s Rampura flyover leads to jams, NHAI blames truck for damage
Vehicular movement between Gurugam and Manesar slowed down on Monday morning after a chunk of concrete fell from the flyover at Rampura crossing, 11km from Rajiv Chowk on the Delhi-jaipur Expressway, creating a big pothole on the road.
After the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) barricaded the damaged lane and the underpass below for repair, the stretch witnessed congestion in the evening as well.
During peak hours, thousands of commuters travel on the stretch between Manesar, Kherki Daula and Gurugram.
The damage to Rampura Flyover has raised the heckles of commuters as it comes just a few months after a portion of concrete fell off from the Hero Honda Chowk flyover in April this year. A few days later, a portion of the flyover at Iffco Chowk was also found damaged.
It must be noted that the flyovers at Hero Honda Chowk and Iffco Chowk are part of the same Delhi-Jaipur Expressway as is the flyover at Rampura Chowk.
The NHAI officials, on Monday, tried to blame the damage on a multi-axle truck, whose tyre burst on the Rampura Flyover. “We suspect that the driver of the truck changed its tyre on the central lane itself. He lifted the truck using a jack, which put excess weight on this portion, damaging it,” NN Giri, project director (NHAI), Delhi-jaipur Expressway, said.
Experts, however, discounted the theory put forth by the NHAI and said that a highway’s structure is designed for both dynamic and static load.
“It is absolutely impossible for the road to get damaged in this manner. The NHAI should look for either design issues or probe the quality of construction, as a highway is designed to take the load of a multi-axle heavily loaded truck,” Professor Sewa Ram, a transportation expert at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, said.
Meanwhile, a group of RTI activists from Gurugram on Monday lodged a complaint with the Kherki Daula police and demanded a probe into the damage caused to the highway. The activists alleged that complaints had also been made earlier in this regard. “The incident took place due to poor quality of construction and we want a probe into this matter,” the complaint said.
NHAI officials, however, said that their immediate priority was to get the road repaired and later, they would form a team to investigate the incident.
“We will check not just the damaged portion, but the area around it as well, to prevent any mishap in future,” Giri said.
This flyover was opened for traffic in 2016 and is maintained by the Pink City Expressway Private Limited, concessionaire of the highway between Jaipur and Gurugram up to Kherki Daula.
Officials of the concessionaire said that they received information about the incident around 6am and immediately reached
the spot. “With police help, we blocked the damaged portion and the underpass for repairs,” Anil Kumar, an official of the Pink City Expressway Ltd, said.
“Traffic marshalls will remain posted at the spot till the repair work is over,” he added.
Commuters, meanwhile, will have to brace for congestion on this stretch for at least a week as the repair work is going to take a minimum of six or seven days, Kumar said. “We are getting special concrete for repairing this stretch, but it will take five or six more days for it to cure. The underpass is also likely to remain closed,” he added.
This development, however, is likely to cause major discomfort to residents of sectors 81 to 95 in new Gurugram.
“Commuters will now have to take a four-km-long detour on a stretch that doesn’t have streetlights,” complained Manoj Lakhani, a resident.
On April 23, 2018, within nine months of its inauguration, a large chunk of concrete had
fallen from the middle of the Hero Honda Chowk flyover’s carriageway, creating a 1.5 metre-wide crater on the road. The NHAI, at the time, played down the incident, stating that it was “localised” and “minor”, and took place due to a honeycomb under the carriageway, which caused concrete distress.
A few days later, on April 26, cracks appeared on two elevated U-turns and an elevated road at Iffco Chowk. The cracks were so wide that the road below was visible through them. NHAI officials again made light of the matter stating that these were not cracks, but gaps in slabs that needed to be filled at the earliest.
A spot visit showed that these cracks were perpendicular to the construction joints and were not, as claimed by the NHAI, “gaps between construction joints”.
An NHAI engineer, on the condition of anonymity, had then said that the cracks appeared due to a change in temperature, but claimed that the structure was “100% safe.”