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Truck breaks down on e-way near Gurugram’s Iffco Chowk, traffic held up for 2 hrs

Traffic police officers said that truck broke down around 8.15am on one of the central lanes of the carriageway leading to Jaipur and it took them 90 minutes to remove it.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 06, 2019 08:04 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Truck,Gurugram,Iffco Chowk
Commuters said that it took them more than 20-25 minutes to cross the spot.(HT Photo)

Traffic movement on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was disrupted for nearly two hours on Wednesday morning after a semi-trailer truck broke down near the Iffco Chowk flyover. Traffic flow was held up as officials tried to tow the truck away, with the pile-up extending up to Shankar Chowk. Officials concerned said it took time to arrange a tow truck and loosen the hydraulic brakes of the vehicle that broke down.

Traffic police officers said that truck broke down around 8.15am on one of the central lanes of the carriageway leading to Jaipur and it took them 90 minutes to remove it.

“We received information about the breakdown around 8.15am. By the time we arrived at the spot, the pile-up had started stretching till Shankar Chowk. Necessary alerts were issued and a high presence of marshals ensured that the movement of vehicles was resumed. We were lucky as it was a public holiday and the volume of vehicles was far lower than usual. Barring the affected spot, the traffic backlog was curtailed within an hour’s time,” said Vikas Dalal, a traffic police constable.

Commuters said that it took them more than 20-25 minutes to cross the spot. “Since it was a public holiday because of Eid, I assumed there would be less traffic and congestion on the road and hence, decided to run some errands. However, I got stuck at IFFCO Chowk for nearly 25 minutes. I was mentally exhausted by the time I crossed the stretch and could only complete a few tasks,” said Sashank Srinivasan, a resident of Sector 50.

Dalal said that traffic police had asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to send its hydra crane to the spot but the plan did not work out. “NHAI officials declined the request, stating that one of their hydra cranes was outdated and could not support the weight of the semi-trailer truck, while another crane had broken down. This resulted in traffic police approaching a private company,” said Dalal.

A statement issued by the Millennium City Expressways Private Limited (MCEPL), the concessionaire of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, to Ashok Sharma, project director of NHAI, (a copy is with Hindustan Times) attributed the delay to several reasons. The MCEPL stated that the driver of the truck was missing when the patrolling team found the vehicle stationary around 8.15am. The wheels of the truck had jammed due to a hydraulic leak and a mechanic was, thus, required to remove the brakes before the vehicle could be moved. The statement further stated that due to it being a festival, it took them 45 minutes to get a mechanic, while the driver of their hydra crane had gone to offer prayers.

The vehicle was subsequently towed at 9.46am, the MCEPL stated.

NHAI officials attributed the problems associated with hydra cranes to an ongoing litigation issue with MCEPL. Ashok Kumar Sharma, project director of NHAI, said that MCEPL had challenged the show-cause notices issued by NHAI on various deficiencies in operation and maintenance of the expressway, in the Delhi high court, which gave the MCEPL 60 days to improve its performance.

“As per the 60-day action plan, the MCEPL was to procure or deploy a 40-tonne hydra crane for ensuring there is minimal disruption of the traffic flow by a vehicle breakdown. However, they have failed to procure the machinery despite repeated reminders. As they had defaulted on various counts, similar to today’s (Wednesday) incident, a termination notice had already been issued to the MCEPL by NHAI. The termination notice is currently stuck in litigation with the Delhi HC. Since MCEPL has outsourced services of 40-tonne hydra crane, it is taking a lot of time to reach the affected spot, by which time traffic flow is affected,” said Sharma.

S Raghuraman, chief executive officer of MCEPL, said that the project director of NHAI “needs to close the MCEPL work by termination” and further said that until then “MCEPL is doing its duty perfectly” with the necessary equipment in place.

“We are monitoring traffic flow on the expressway 24x7 via live video footage in our control room. Hence, today’s (Wednesday) truck breakdown was promptly dealt with and there was minimal disruption to traffic movement. The issue of outsourcing equipment is not a problem, rather, rendering of service is important. Hydra cranes and ambulance recovery vehicles are available whenever the need arises,” said Raghuraman.

On May 21, traffic flow on the expressway was held up on the Gurugram-Delhi side of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway for three hours, after a truck broke down ahead of the Mahipalpur flyover.

Officials had faced problems in procuring a crane then too.

First Published: Jun 06, 2019 00:54 IST