9 underpasses needed to tackle growing traffic problems in Chandigarh tricity: RITES - Hindustan Times
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9 underpasses needed to tackle growing traffic problems in Chandigarh tricity: RITES

By, Chandigarh
Jul 08, 2022 03:18 AM IST

Interim report of the comprehensive mobility plan for tricity suggests vehicular underpasses at nine junctions in Chandigarh and geometric improvements at six more across the tricity

Working on a comprehensive mobility plan for the tricity, RITES has proposed vehicular underpasses at nine junctions in Chandigarh that see heavy traffic.

With a population of over 12 lakh and 15 lakh registered vehicles, Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles per household in the country, leading to acute traffic problems (HT Photo)
With a population of over 12 lakh and 15 lakh registered vehicles, Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles per household in the country, leading to acute traffic problems (HT Photo)

Based on the primary surveys and data analysis, junction improvement plans have been proposed at 15 major junctions across the tricity, of which nine in Chandigarh should have vehicular underpasses to improve traffic circulation, says the interim report by RITES.

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The report was submitted in June this year and a presentation was made before the UT, Mohali and Panchkula officials.

It also proposes short-term parking management measures with respect to policy interventions and enforcement, along with for non-motorised transport, and pedestrian infrastructure.

UT adviser Dharam Pal said, “The final report of RITES is expected in another three months. Meanwhile, the interim report consists of study progress, primary traffic and travel survey analysis, base year travel demand model, service-level benchmarks, and short-term improvement measures on junctions and parking.”

With a population of over 12 lakh and 15 lakh registered vehicles, Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles per household in the country, leading to acute traffic problems. In addition to these, over 2 lakh vehicles moving on interstate routes cross the city daily.

The comprehensive mobility plan, allotted to RITES Limited in December last year, is aimed at resolving this burgeoning problem.

RITES was tasked with updating the data of its 2009 report and preparing the plan as per the latest guidelines of the Union ministry of road, transport and highways (MoRTH). It is conducting scenario analysis of mobility options in different sectors to suggest the best-suited mass rapid transport system (MRTS) for the tricity.

Since the metro rail plans were shelved, the administration has not been able to opt for any other alternative, such as monorail, skybus or metrolite.

A flyover, underpass and an elevated rotary at the Tribune Chowk, approved and funded by the Union government, has been stuck in legal wrangles, while the ring roads around the tricity have also yet to see light of the day.

Construction of underpasses an irreversible process: Chandigarh Master Plan

Though the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 (CMP-2031) doesn’t entirely reject vehicular underpasses, it does strongly advise against them.

While recommending more non-motorised vehicles, the master plan pushes for Chandigarh to be promoted as a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly city.

On a similar recommendation of underpasses by RITES in its 2009 study, the CMP states, “Since construction of underpasses is an irreversible process, it needs to be seriously reconsidered.”

It had further observed, “The primary focus must remain on retrieving the city for the pedestrians and cyclists, and ensuring that concerns over increasing vehicular traffic and congestion do not end up cutting the city into bits, making life far more difficult for the majority of citizens.”

Even in its 2009 report, RITES had recommended construction of underpasses near PGIMER Chowk, Government Press Building Chowk, Transport Chowk, Housing Board Chowk, Kisan Bhawan Chowk, Piccadilly Chowk, Tribune Chowk, and intersection of Sarovar Path and Madhya Marg.

Underpasses were also proposed across Dakshin Marg, connecting V5 roads of Sectors 22 and 35; across Himalaya Marg, connecting V4 roads of Sectors 34 and 35; and across Shanti Path, connecting V5 roads of Sectors 38 and 40, Sectors 33 and 45 and Sectors 35 and 43.

RITES SUGGESTIONS

Underpasses at nine junctions:

ISBT-17 Chowk

Tribune Chowk

Kisan Bhawan Chowk, Sector 35

Govt Press Building Chowk, Sector 18

Transport Chowk, Sector 26

Gurdwara Chowk, Sector 20

Sector 46C/47D Chowk

Railway Station road

Housing Board Chowk, Chandigarh-Panchkula border

Geometric improvements at six junctions:

Matka Chowk, Sector 16

Sector 43B/35C Chowk

Sector 7/26-19/27 Chowk

Kumbra Chowk, near Phase 7, Mohali

Mohali Bypass and Balongi road junction

Budanpur Chowk, near Maheshpur, Panchkula

What does Chandigarh Master Plan say about underpasses

They will require re-routing of existing underground services

The extra lanes required for underpasses will almost eliminate berms/pedestrian pathways and full-grown trees

Experience across the globe indicates that continuous upgrade of road infrastructure negatively impacts the quality of the urban environment and is particularly damaging for pedestrians and cyclists

The worldwide trend is to promote pedestrian friendly cities, based on new urbanism and eco-city concepts

Overbridges and flyovers are not recommended in Chandigarh due to heritage considerations, since they impact the visual city scape and cause inconvenience to pedestrians.

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