Delhi: Flyover closure leads to massive Ring Road snarls | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi: Flyover closure leads to massive Ring Road snarls

May 04, 2024 06:10 AM IST

The three simultaneous projects triggered chaos on the Ring Road with vehicles stuck in hours-long jam

With one carriageway of the Naraina flyover shut for repairs and the simultaneous expansion of the Club Road flyover in Punjab Bagh, massive jams were seen on Ring Road between Dhaula Kuan and Punjabi Bagh on Friday.

Long traffic snarls were seen for five to six kilometres on Ring Road, on the carriageway from Dhaula Kuan to Raja Garden, and alternative routes on Thursday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Long traffic snarls were seen for five to six kilometres on Ring Road, on the carriageway from Dhaula Kuan to Raja Garden, and alternative routes on Thursday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The Public Works Department (PWD) is undertaking repairs on the Naraina flyover and constructing a new flyover at Punjabi Bagh after demolishing the existing structure. The Naraina flyover was partially shut for traffic for 15 days on Thursday and diversions are still in place for the construction work at Punjabi Bagh. To make this worse, diversions have been put in place for construction of subway and underground cabling work near Bharat Darshan Park.

The three simultaneous projects triggered chaos on the Ring Road with vehicles stuck in an hours-long jam, extending from Delhi Cantonment to Rajouri Garden.

A Delhi government spokesperson did not respond to comment seeking reaction on the urgency to take up these projects simultaneously.

The PWD official in-charge of the project did not respond to request for comment. However, an official of the department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that excessive pressure of traffic on flyovers necessitates repair work or it could be dangerous for the public.

“The road repair division has taken up repair work on the flyover on the basis of structural audit reports. The repair work was already delayed due to the NOC (no-objection certificate) from traffic police. We have started the work after the traffic police gave a go ahead. The work had been pending for the last one year because the site was not available for repair work,” the PWD official said.

A senior Delhi Traffic Police officer, who asked not to be named, said the NOC for the repair work on Naraina flyover was granted as PWD requested for the urgent replacement of damaged joints to ensure the safety of commuters.

“PWD has been granted 20 days to complete the repair work, because the Naraina flyover is a key route used by hundreds of thousands of commuters,” the officer added.

Traffic jams were seen for 5-6km on Ring Road on the carriageway from Dhaula Kuan to Raja Garden, and on alternative routes.

The traffic official said that 15 personnel and five marshals were deployed on the roads to clear the jams and regulate the traffic flow.

According to traffic police, roads that witnessed bumper-to-bumper traffic were Ring Road, between Dhaula Kuan Raja Garden, and its adjoining roads such as Cariappa Marg, Maude Marg (Jail Road), Vande Matram Marg, Satguru Ram Singh Road, Goswami Girdhari Lal Marg, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Marg, Mayapuri Road, Cantonment Hospital Road.

The snarls continued till late evening with commuters blaming the authorities for the mess.

“Cariappa Marg and Ring Road from Dhaula Kuan towards Mayapuri were jam-packed. It usually takes me an hour and ten minutes to go from my office in Maharani Bagh to my house in West Delhi. I saw a huge jam ahead of me on the Ring Road around Dhaula Kuan at around 9.40pm, so I took Cariappa Marg. Even that was jam packed and it took me more than two hours to reach home. The jam was compounded by a non-functioning signal at Maude Road turn,” said Shikha Saxena, 32.

Another commuter, Harjot Singh, in a post on X, at around 10pm on Friday, said, “Massive traffic on Mahatma Gandhi Marg - Ring Road towards Dhaula Kuan to Raja Garden. Kindly take a note of it. Traffic is moving very slowly around 3 to 5km/h.”

Traffic police modify plan

In view of the massive snarls on Thursday, the traffic police made changes in the restrictions announced earlier.

“According to the new arrangement, vehicles are being allowed to move on the wrong carriageway and then merge again on the main carriageway just before the Mayapuri flyover. Traffic coming from Rajouri Garden and headed to Dhaula Kuan will remain in the left lane and pass using the side carriageway instead of taking the flyover. This arrangement will be in place between 4pm to 10pm, till the repair work is completed. For the rest of the day traffic will run normally,” said a second traffic police officer.

The situation, however, was addressed only partially and the snarls continued across the affected stretches.

Experts flag poor planning

Dr S Velmurugan, chief scientist and head of traffic engineering and safety division of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) said the agency [PWD] could have waited for the Punjabi Bagh flyover work to complete before starting repairs on the Naraina flyover, since both are located on the same corridor.

“It looks like there are planning issues in terms of taking up the flyover repair work. It is a critical corridor connecting west Delhi to other parts of the city, and two major disruptions on the same corridor could have been avoided.”

He said timing of repair work timing could have been reviewed after consulting a bridge expert. “I am not sure if they have consulted the bridge experts... If the situation did not warrant immediate replacement, the repair work could have been timed better as monsoon is still far away,” Velmurugan said.

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