Roundabout to ease traffic woes at Sec 11 junction
Traffic snarls at Bhuteshwar Mandir Chowk near Sadar Bazaar in Sector 11 might soon be resolved with the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority’s (GMDA) plan to turn the crowded intersection into a clockwise roundabout by July. This will ease the flow of traffic in all directions from the chowk and reduce the need for long traffic signals, an official with the GMDA’s mobility division said. Presently, the road functions as a three-way intersection, leading to Khandsa, Basai and Pataudi villages. “The number of vehicles here runs into several thousand every day, but the roads are narrow and the intersection becomes a choke point. It is extremely hard to manage traffic over there,” said RK Mittal, engineer (mobility), GMDA, explaining that only one traffic is allowed to cross the intersection one cluster at a time.
“This is causing problems not just to commuters but also residents and shop owners around the chowk,” he added. With a one-way clockwise rotary, this stop-and-start method won’t be needed and traffic will be allowed to flow seamlessly in any of the three directions. Mittal also clarified that the chowk is currently too small to install a roundabout, and that the roads would also need to be widened. The GMDA plans to spend a total of Rs 47 lakh on the project, which was first proposed in February and allotted to a private contractor earlier this month. Officials say the traffic situation at Bhuteshwar Chowk has remained troublesome for at least a decade now. In 2017, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) had hired a private consultant to suggest remedial measures, following which the traffic department implemented a one-way system for vehicles approaching the chowk from Khandsa village, which were diverted along a different route. “That system did not work well and was done away with,” said ND Vashisht, engineer, MCG. Experts, however, are doubtful about the effectiveness of roundabouts and road widening for dispersing traffic. Transport expert Sarika Panda Bhatt warned against widening roads, where there is heavy traffic, as a solution, saying, “They only lead to an increased flow of traffic over a long period of time and we will be left with the same problem again.” Moreover, Panda said that roundabouts only work in the short-term, and do not take into account population boom and increasing vehicular traffic. She gave the example of Gurugram’s three main roundabouts at AIT Chowk, Atul Kataria Chowk and Rezang La Chowk, all of which continue to experience major traffic snarls during the rush hours.
“They are poor engineering solutions and can work only if we can somehow reduce the number of vehicles on the city roads, but that is a whole other challenge,” she said. In October last year, HT had carried a report on how only three roundabouts remain in the city. The report mentioned that since 2008, traffic signals have replaced roundabouts at junctions on all arterial roads of Gurugram including Huda City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Subhash Chowk, Bakhtawar Chowk, Bristol Chowk, Genpact Chowk and Maharana Pratap Chowk. Though still congested, these junctions no longer experience gridlocks as traffic signals effectively, even if slowly, have facilitated smooth flow of heavy traffic. Mittal said that these issues would be addressed in the GMDA’s upcoming Comprehensive Mobility Plan, which will be ready by April.