E-way intersections 'chowk'-a-block
Although the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has helped reduce the miseries of inter-city commuters - commuting between Delhi, Gurgaon and Jaipur - in a big way, for those using the stretch to travel within the Millennium City, commuting is nothing but a nightmare.
You can count yourself lucky if you are not caught up in endless traffic jams at the four intersections - Shankar Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Signature Chowk, Iffco Chowk - on the expressway.
Nearly 5 lakh private and commercial vehicles pass through the expressway daily. Out of these, 3 lakh vehicles use the 28-km-long expressway for intra-city commute: They enter and exit the expressway between the toll plazas at Sarhaul near Ambience Mall and Kherki Daula near Haldirams.
Poor planning and management and lack of facilities have compounded the problems. The authorities have failed to curb illegal parking and encroachment along the expressway.
The expressway is being managed by three agencies - Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd, Haryana Urban Development Authority, National Highway Authority of India and traffic police department.
Unlike other expressways in the country which are greenfield projects, the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway meanders through the heart of the Millennium City.
The expressway has achieved notoriety for not providing adequate facilities for pedestrians as there are only four footover bridges.
There is not even a single proper slip road at Rajiv Chowk, though it connects the district court complex, police control room, the inter-state bus terminus, Medanta hospital and a host of malls and condominiums on the Sohna Road.
The triangle structures that bifurcate the main carriageway traffic with the turning traffic at most of the intersections are structurally faulty as they fall in the middle of the road for motorists crisscrossing the expressway.
"This triangle divider hampers the movement of traffic coming from Old Gurgaon and going towards Sohna Road," said traffic inspector Hans Raj.
From here, the traffic going towards sector 10 and Pataudi road is forced to take a dangerous "wrong direction" since the first U-turn is 5 km away at Kherki-Daula plaza.
The residents have been demanding an underpass or flyover at the Hero Honda Chowk. At Signature Tower, even the functional traffic lights and half-a-dozen traffic cops fail to ensure easy vehicular movement as the slip roads which are anyway waterlogged and potholed are rendered useless since a long queue of vehicles block the way to slip roads.
Scores of auto rickshaws, cabs and encroachers eat into the limited road space. Buses stop at random as there are no dedicated bus stops.
Lack of adequate public transport forces commuters to make a beeline at the intersections themselves to board cabs. The authorities have failed to install traffic lights at these intersections. On an average, it takes 10-15 minutes to cross an intersection, say commuters.
This year alone, more than 72 accidents took place on the Gurgaon stretch of the expressway.
So far, 50 people have lost their lives in accidents on the expressway this year.
The authorities have done precious little to rectify the structural and engineering lacunae on the expressway.
'We are working on various possible solutions'
Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda)
How many sites has Huda identified to construct slip roads on the expressway?
We have identified several sites between the two toll plazas but work is yet to start.
Have officials of NHAI, Huda and traffic police identified problematic sites and discussed the solutions?
Yes, we have held several meetings in which we have discussed the possible solutions - slip roads, clover-leaf flyovers, underpasses and flyovers.
We are likely to have another meeting shortly.
Has Huda constructed slip roads anywhere on the Expressway?
Our department has constructed slip roads at Iffco Chowk but that was not exactly on the expressway.
It was made to make traffic as smooth as possible. At Signature Tower too, slip roads were constructed but that was Huda land.
Is there any plan in the offing to construct flyovers on the expressway?
I cannot comment anything about our new plans right now but the matter has been discussed with NHAI officials at a higher level in Delhi and Chandigarh as well.
'Police, state agencies can make all the difference'
Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (expressway operator)
All major crossings on Gurgaon expressway are clogged with vehicular traffic. Is it due to a faulty architectural design?
No. It is because of unauthorised entry gates opened by various colonies on the expressway near these crossings as additional movement disturbs the flow of traffic.
Your traffic marshals have failed to check unruly drivers.
We do not enjoy regulatory and enforcement power such as issuing challans to drivers. It is the state police that can make all the difference.
The expressway operator has not constructed enough slip roads for traffic converging on crossings. Why?
It is the responsibility of local authorities such as Huda as any development beyond our right of way (ROW), i.e., the main carriageway and service lanes, is done by the state agencies.
What is the major cause of huge traffic pile-ups on major crossings?
Heavy volume of traffic. Around 3 lakh vehicles ply on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway everyday. All major crossings are heavily choked during peak rush hours.