Chirag Delhi: Choc-a-block, ripple effects on other corridors | Latest News Delhi

A new part of south Delhi was plunged into traffic chaos on Monday as the work week rush met the half-closed Chirag Delhi flyover on Outer Ring Road, triggering a bumper-to-bumper jam in the immediate vicinity and cascading delays on other crucial junctions in the city’s southeast.

Heavy traffic jam near Chirag Delhi flyover that was shut for repairs on Sunday midnight. (Vipin Kumar/HT)

The worst hit were residents of CR Park and Greater Kailash-2, for whom the closest exits towards the city opened on the 2-km stretch between Nehru Place and Chirag Delhi flyovers. In the evening, estimates by navigation tools showed that it took anywhere between 25 and 35 minutes to head from the Nehru Place crossing to the Chirag Delhi intersection, a trip that usually takes four minutes by car.

Most of the commuters stuck in the jam said they had few feasible alternatives, while those that took detours reported being stuck at key intersections like Moolchand, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Bhikaji Cama Place.

The Chirag Delhi flyover has been shut for at least 50 days for repairs to what are known as expansion joints on the overbridge. The repairs will be carried out by splitting the work in two 25-day windows, with the first — which began on Sunday — involving repairs on the westward carriageway that heads from Nehru Place to IIT Delhi. Once this is done, the eastward carriageway will be closed and the traffic diverted to under the flyover.

The closure comes just weeks after the crucial Ashram flyover extension was opened after being closed for more than 63 days, when commuters in that part of South Delhi faced painful jams.

When HT visited the spot, people on two- and three-wheelers were seen driving on the wrong side in an effort to leapfrog the jam.

“The Class 12 board exams are underway and they have closed the Chirag Delhi flyover without any plan. This should have been postponed by 10 days,” said Rajinder Sachdeva, who was stuck while dropping a child to the exam centre around 9am.

Chetan Sharma, a resident of Greater Kailash-2, said it usually takes him around half an hour to commute from home to the airport. But on Monday, the journey took double the time. “The ill-planned closure has led to complete chaos for residents of south Delhi. This is now the frequent topic of discussion in locality groups. We have no other route to take if we have to move towards central Delhi, to the airport,or further south,” Sharma said.

Police, however, said there was no more traffic than usual.

“There was usual traffic, mostly due to the fact that vehicles were stuck at the signal at the junction whereas earlier they could cross the junction using the flyover. We also did not receive any congestion-related call or traffic complaints. There were enough traffic police personnel deployed to manage the situation,” saidspecial commissioner of police (traffic) Surender Singh Yadav.

Experts said drastic measures may have to be taken if the situation remains as bad.

S Velmurugan, chief scientist and head of traffic engineering and safety division at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said the traffic police will have to move from detour advisories to making diversions mandatory. “This corridor attracts a lot of commuters bound for commercial, local, residential and office complex destinations. A large number of hospitals and schools too are in the region. The agencies will have to start thinking about making alternative routes mandatory to minimise the load and commuters should be better informed about the live situation and waiting time through VMS boards,” he said.

The ripple effects from the gridlock was exacerbated on Monday morning due to a series of vehicle and bus breakdowns at Outer Ring Road near Masjid Moth, a carriageway from Moolchand towards Lodhi Flyover, the stretch near Nizamuddin East Red Light, the Barapullah flyover and on the Aurobindo Marg.

Most of these stretch are part of Delhi traffic police’s detour advisory. The agency has suggested traffic coming from Nehru Place take a right turn under the flyover and use the Ring Road for destinations towards Dhaula Kuan, AIIMS and Defense Colony.

“After so many infrastructure projects and flyovers, we have just transferred jams from one place to another. It will be a very difficult month ahead with so many closures. I will start leaving from home sooner from tomorrow,” said Lal Kunj, a supplier of mechanical parts, who was travelling from Sarita Vihar to Green Park.