Meant to streamline Gurugram traffic, jersey barriers have become safety hazard
First adopted in Gurugram in the late 2000’s to demarcate service lanes on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, Jersey barriers have since come to be favoured by civic agencies and the traffic police as a simple and cost-effective way to streamline traffic on city roads that are riddled with engineering deficiencies.
“After the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was widened, several junctions and stretches were experiencing snarls mainly due to gaps between the service lanes and the national highway. Hence, jersey barriers were placed to streamline traffic,” assistant commissioner of police (highways) Hira Singh said.
In the past decade, however, ill-thought placement of these structures has not only rendered them useless, but even made them a safety hazard.
Dubbed as “mechanisms for creating long and confusing diversions” by residents, these barriers led to two serious accidents -on October 9 at AIT Chowk and on August 21 at Genpact Chowk - with the latter resulting in the death of two people.
Jersey barriers have become a traffic concern at several other points as well, especially on the stretch between Bakhtawar Chowk and Subhash Chowk, Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway exit leading to Cyber City and Udyog Vihar, at multiple points on the Golf Course Road and opposite South City 1 near HUDA City Centre junction.
The Hindustan Times, in its series, will examine four stretches where jersey barriers have worsened motorists woes instead of solving them, highlighting the need for authorities to re-analyse the effectiveness of these structures.
It must be noted that the yellow and black striped jersey barriers in the city are mostly made of concrete, and not orange plastic, like it is New Delhi.
Golf Course Road
Jersey barriers have been placed at three places on the 8-km Golf Course Road—at AIT Chowk, Genpact Chowk and opposite Vipul Belmonte. At each of the points, the placements of jersey barriers has led to accidents, some of which have been fatal.
At AIT Chowk and Genpact Chowk, jersey barriers have been placed along the side of the main road. With the stretches being poorly lit, they become difficult to spot and motorist often end up crashing into them. Opposite Vipul Belmonte, jersey barriers have been used to demarcate a U-turn reducing the road width from four lanes to two, resulting in snarls.
Between Bakhtawar Chowk and Subhash Chowk
In February, traffic police blocked the exit for going towards Sector 47 with jersey barriers. This forced motorists to take a U-turn from under the Subhash Chowk flyover leading to accidents and snarls under the flyover.
Confusion persists as traffic flow is obstructed by an illegal autorickshaw stand on a footpath below the flyover, which overlooks the Sadar police station. Motorists have to be wary of autorickshaws coming from the wrong side or halting abruptly.
“Blocking the cut helped eliminate snarls on the main road, but the solution gave rise to a different problem. Vehicles now make a u-turn below the Subhash Chowk flyover where I have seen several accidents take place due to the autorickshaws,” Anand Rungta, a resident of Sector 47, said.
Exit on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway for Cyber City and Udyog Vihar
Among the biggest problems communicated by motorists regarding jersey barriers is that their placement is changed a tad too often, which disorients people slowing traffic and leading to accidents.
On the stretch from the expressway to Cyber City and Udyog Vihar, traffic police officials place jersey barriers to either block the exit at Atlas Chowk and open the one near Shyam Chowk, or vice versa, to manage traffic volume. The uncertainty of which exit would be open often causes commuters to drive all the way till Rajokri flyover in New Delhi and then head back towards Gurugram—a detour of 4km.
Near HUDA City Centre junction
On the road leading from the Signature Towers, authorities have placed jersey barriers just before the HUDA City Centre junction to create a U-turn. While this demarcation allows motorists to turn, they must do so against traffic approaching from Bakhtawar Chowk. This leads to minor accidents on a daily basis despite traffic police officials being deputed at the point.
“If jersey barriers are not placed at these points it will lead to traffic snarls. Jersey barriers were introduced last year to streamline traffic movement on the heavily congested Golf Course Road as a temporary measure. Until all work on the roads is completed the jersey barriers will remain,” said V Umashankar, the CEO of Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA).
However, Sarika Panda Bhatt, the technical adviser of Haryana Vision Zero, a road safety initiative of the Haryana government, opined, “The placement of jersey barriers for traffic management needs to be reconsidered as they have become a cause of accidents in the city. Placing jersey barriers instead of installing a traffic signal is not a viable solution to city’s traffic problems. Authorities need to execute engineering changes.”