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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Gurugram: Bakhtawar Chowk redesign on the cards after state polls

gurugram Updated: Oct 09, 2019 23:48 IST

The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has decided to redesign Bakhtawar Chowk, a four-way intersection, by making it more compact, aligning its carriageways and establishing a median refuge island — a wide pavement — for increased pedestrian safety.

GMDA officials said that they will be using the findings of the draft comprehensive mobility plan (CMP), compiled by the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), for redesigning the intersection.

Bakhtawar Chowk is one of the most congested junctions in the city as traffic from Rajiv Chowk, Subhash Chowk, Huda City Centre and Mayfield Gardens converges at the spot.

As per the SPA’s study, the highest vehicle accumulation at the junction in a single hour — 8,545 — takes place between 6pm and 7pm on working days.

In its study, the SPA had observed that the alignment of carriageways, facilitating traffic movement from Mayfield Gardens and Rajiv Chowk, was not straight, resulting in the intersection becoming too wide. Thus, the traffic moving from Subhash Chowk and Huda City Centre takes more time to navigate the junction.

Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member at the SPA, said that their study found that the roads leading from Subhash Chowk and Huda City Centre, running west to east, have six lanes, with service roads on both sides and a right-of-way of 60 metres.

However, the roads leading from Rajiv Chowk and Mayfield Gardens, running north to south, have four lanes, with a right-of-way ranging 30-36 metres.

“Due to the differences in the width of carriageways, the junction is not aligned. As a result, it takes more time for motorists travelling from Subhash Chowk and Huda City Centre to cross the junction. In addition, the medians, on all four sides, end abruptly and do not cover the central portion of the junction, leaving pedestrians vulnerable to high-speed traffic. To combat this, we have suggested the construction of an elevated median refuge island at the centre of the junction,” said Ram.

According to Ram, the elevated median refuge island will be a wide pavement situated on top of green belts on all four sides. He said this will not only help pedestrians cross from one end to the other, but also act as a speed calming measure to check instances of speeding.

In addition, the SPA has also recommended extending the median from all four sides, right up to the middle of the junction.

V Umashankar, chief executive officer (CEO) of GMDA, said that the civic body has approved designs for the project, with few modifications to the SPA’s original design, to account for the utilities situated at the junction.

“We have made few modifications to the SPA’s design, based on the utilities that have been identified there. A large drain and an electricity line needed to be taken into consideration while redesigning. We have, hence, approved a design that has been planned around the existing utilities. Work on estimates for the project is going on and we will initiate the process of issuing tenders after the Haryana assembly elections,” said Umashankar.

Last month, Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ) had also redesigned the junction using barricades, traffic cones and paint to make the crossing safer for pedestrians and to check traffic violations.

The HVZ’s redesign had made the junction more compact and elongated the existing median on all four sides to ensure pedestrians are not vulnerable to approaching traffic. The HVZ team had also established waiting areas for pedestrians.

In less than a week’s time, however, the Gurugram traffic police had removed the barricades and jersey barriers from the spot as it was leading to heavy congestion at the junction.

Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator with HVZ, highlighted some flaws in the SPA’s design for the junction. “In the SPA’s design, the service lanes and slip roads are overlapping, which could not only lead to confusion but also encourage wrong-side driving. In addition, on certain parts of the refuge island, footpaths are absent,” said Bhatt.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 23:48 IST

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