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Get ready for 24-hr gridlock in Common Wealth Games run-up

Add comment June 15th, 2010

The traffic gridlock you face on the way to work and back home every day, well, it just got worse several times over.

Starting this month-end or early next, Delhi Traffic Police will begin blocking one lane of several carriageways across the city to test a traffic plan that will be in force during the Commonwealth Games in October. The restrictions will be in place for all 24 hours of the day.

Almost all of the roads along the 170-km stretch, beginning from East Delhi and leading up to the airport, will have one lane reserved for Commonwealth Games competitors and authorities. These roads, located in South, Central and East Delhi, will connect to all competing and training venues.

Traffic police expect jams on these following roads, among others: Parade Road, National Highway-8, Safdarjang Road, Kemal Ataturk Marg, Aurobindo Marg, Lodhi Road, Ring Road, National Highway-24, DND flyover, Captain Gaur Marg and stretches of Outer Ring Road. “We are only waiting for the lane markings in green to be done, and we will start the trials soon after,” a police official said.

The pilot project will most likely begin at the end of this month at Vinay Marg near Ashoka Hotel at Chanakyapuri.

As part of the dry run, traffic police will start blocking one lane on these roads in phases.

Ajay Chadha, special police commissioner, said the lanes will be out of bounds for commuters throughout the day, and that traffic police personnel will be deployed to ensure commuters don’t enter these lanes, which will be painted green.

He admitted people will face problems. “We know managing traffic will be a challenge,” he said, “but we’ll do our best to educate commuters so that traffic moves smoothly.” Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said traffic authorities will try their best to ensure traffic is not disrupted but added that trial runs were unavoidable as a lane had to be reserved for athletes during the Games.

“There is no doubt that Delhi’s roads have huge traffic.

But if traffic restrictions are managed well they’ll help in improving vehicular movement,” she said. ” It’s all about enforcing the rules. Trial runs will be carried out till authorities achieve some degree of confidence in the traffic plan.” But Dr P. K. Sarkar, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, is certain that city traffic will turn chaotic as a result of these trials.

“There is bound to be chaos,” he said. “What else would you expect if a lane lies unused on a major road?” He warned that if Delhi Traffic Police does not plan the closures well, it could create a ripple effect on other roads.

“People will try to avoid blocked roads and take other routes. As a result there will be traffic jams on several roads.” Traffic officials have decided to put up bollards on several roads where it is not possible to post traffic constables.

“This will physically keep commuters away,” an officer said. He said there is no formal timeframe for the trial run.

“It could continue right up to and certainly during the Commonwealth Games.” Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), said: “Such traffic schemes have to be planned much in advance so that agencies have time to implement it.

There seems to be lack of planning here. Every agency does its work and there is hardly any coordination between them.” But that does not seem to bother the police. Chadha said if commuters don’t follow the trial route, police officials could invoke Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that makes flouting the rule an offence.

“Managing traffic would be like a challenge and it would be the last option. After this, the vehicle can be seized,” Chadha said. He said there would be signage all over the city to ensure commuters find their way easily. We will also use the media effectively to educate commuters about the diversions.” Sources said the traffic plans were prepared in consultation with the Delhi Police, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, and the MCD, PWD and the NDMC. The decision to reserve a lane was taken at a high- level meeting convened by Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna.

‘Levy Congestion Tax’: Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday suggested that states levy congestion tax on private vehicle users.

This would discourage their use, reduce carbon emissions and smoothen traffic.

Heavy congestion tax, as it is levied in some of the busiest cities abroad, intends to discourage motorists from visiting some of the congested areas and instead force them to use public transport. Taxes are also levied on new vehicles.

Delhi Traffic police to train 1000 volunteers for Games

Add comment June 15th, 2010

Even as a date is yet to be fixed for commencement of trial runs for the dedicated Games lanes civic agencies are yet to complete marking the special lane on roads the traffic police have started enrolling volunteers to help with traffic management during the sporting extravaganza. The plan is to rope in about 1,000 volunteers, train them and post them on major roads during the Games. With the Intelligent Traffic Signals (ITS) scheme not taking off, the traffic police have also sent a request for additional manpower from the total pool of Delhi Police.

The cops are also pushing for legislation for the Commonwealth Games. ‘‘We have sought harsh penalties for those entering the Games lanes. Such vehicles would have to pay hefty fines and could also face seizure of vehicles if the legislation is approved by the government. If not, we can book the drivers under section 144 of Indian Penal Code under which they would have to face arrest,’’ said Ajay Chadha, special commissioner of police (traffic).

In the next three months, the emphasis is going to be more on regulation than prosecution. The focus of the traffic police will be on offences like lane driving both Games lane and general lane discipline, enforcement of Right of Way (RoW) on major roads, roundabouts and intersections without signals and safety of pedestrians.

On Friday, the traffic police also launched the volunteer programme on their website where interested Delhiites can fill up an online form to enroll for the programme. ‘‘The scheme is voluntary. There is no payment or meal allowance. The volunteers will be trained and expected to help with traffic management for about three hours daily at an area near their residence. They won’t have powers to prosecute but their complaints will be followed up by our staff. At the end of the programme, volunteers will be given an experience certificate,’’ Chadha added. The Delhi Traffic Police link on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are also being activated to get people participation in traffic management before the Games.

Kamal Nath discusses Highway improvements in Delhi

Add comment July 5th, 2009

Kamal Nath discusses Highway improvements in Delhi and alternate connectivity between Delhi and Gurgaon with Delhi Chief Minister

The Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shri Kamal Nath reviewed the road infrastructure needs of Delhi with the Delhi Chief Minister, Smt. Sheila Dikshit in a meeting on Thursday. The improvement of the National Highways in Delhi, better connectivity to Delhi Airports especially in view of the coming Commonwealth Games, alternative road connectivity between Delhi and Gurgaon to ease off decongestion and expediting the construction of Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) project and land acquisitions were some of the major issues discussed.

As part of building of the infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games, the improvement of National Highways in Delhi is a priority. The Roads Transport & highways Ministry agreed to transfer the 8km stretch from Wazirabad to Mukarba Chowk on NH-1 to PWD, Delhi for maintenance, landscaping and construction of grade separators etc. Permission for execution of work for up- gradation of street light on this stretch has already been given to PWD, Delhi vide an order dated 1st May, 2009.

It was also decided at the meeting that the Secretary , RT&H will call a meeting with DIAL, NHAI, PWD, Delhi to decide on the agency for implementation of the Northern Underpass on NH-8 for connectivity to Delhi airports.

The delay in land acquisitions by the Delhi Government is causing delays to NHAI for speeding up the work for the Badarpur Flyover. The Minister requested the Delhi Chief Minister to expedite the same and provide land to check further delay. The Chief Minister assured the Minister to sort out the issue at the earliest. The work for this project has been awarded in June 2008 on BOT (toll) basis with a concession period of 20 years.

The issue of better co-ordination between Delhi and Haryana Government on the issue of providing alternate road connectivity between Delhi and Gurgaon also came up for the discussions. Shri Nath apprised Smt. Dikshit of the discussions he held in this regard with the Haryana Chief Minister Shri B.S Hooda. The Haryana Government has mooted out the Northern Peripheral Expressway and the Southern Peripheral Expressway projects for this purpose which requires tying up traffic circulation needs of Delhi also. Smt. Dikshit welcomed NHAI taking up the work on this on the Delhi side but sought time for consultations with MCD on this.

The Eastern Peripheral expressway project which has received only one bidder was also discussed. The Minister told the Delhi Chief Minister that the CCEA’s approval for opening of the single bid is being obtained and that the project will be expedited.

Scores killed in Delhi Road Crash

Add comment June 15th, 2009

New Delhi – At least 12 workers were killed on Saturday when a truck carrying them overturned in India’s western state of Gujarat, a news report said.

Police officials said six workers were injured in the accident in the southern Amreli district, the PTI news agency reported.

Most of the fatalities died on the scene, and the injured were admitted to a local hospital, police told the news agency.

Road accidents take a high toll in India, the country accounts for some 10 per cent of the 1.2 million fatal road accidents worldwide each year. – Sapa-dpa

MG Road to close at night for 40 days

Add comment May 29th, 2009

NEW DELHI: One of the major access roads to Gurgaon MG Road will remain closed for traffic at night for 40 days starting Saturday to facilitate construction of the Delhi Metro line to the satellite township.

“The diversions will be put into effect on both sides of the road from Manglapuri crossing (near phoolwali mandi) till Aya Nagar More from 12 pm to 6 am. The special work is expected to be completed by July 9 when the flow of traffic will be normalised,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson, adding that the movement of traffic will remain normal on the stretch from 6 am to midnight.

The road is being closed to speed up construction of the elevated Metro viaduct leading to the under-construction maintenance depot at Sultanpur, which is located just off the main MG Road. An elevated platform is being constructed between the pillars already erected on both sides of the road on which three sets of tracks with cross-overs are required for a distance of about 850 metres to enable trains to enter and exit the depot through a separate set of tracks. The normal elevated Metro structures are designed for just two sets of tracks.

For this, the distance between the two sets of pillars 36 on each side will first be joined using steel beams. To add support, precast concrete stabs will be placed on the structure, perpendicular to the steel beams. “The steel beams and concrete slabs will be brought to the site on trailers and lifted to the elevated structure using special cranes. This is not possible without closing the road below,” the spokesperson added. Each of the steel beams is 21-23 metres in length and 50 tonnes in weight.

As an alternative routes, those commuting between Delhi and Gurgaon can take a left turn on Gadaipur Mandi road and turn right on Gurgaon Faridabad Road to hit MG Road after the Delhi Gurgaon border. This route, however, can only be used by small cars and two wheelers. All the commercial traffic using MG Road at night will be diverted to National Highway-8 (Delhi-Gurgaon expressway) or alternatively Gurgaon Faridabad Road and Mathura Road to reach Delhi at the Ashram crossing.

The DMRC is deploying an adequate number of traffic marshalls on the stretch to guide vehicles about the diversion and are also putting up signages on all the major intersections on the way to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

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