Ring Road travel becomes nightmare

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NEW DELHI: Gridlocked traffic for kilometres on end—for reasons no more serious than a vehicle breaking down on one of the flyovers—are a common sight on Ring Road nowadays. They are bound to depress a commuter, if not throw his day’s plans out of gear. As if this was not enough, Metro constructions are in full swing, making the capital’s lifeline a driver’s nightmare.

On Tuesday afternoon at 11.30am, a truck broke down on Chirag Delhi flyover. Although it occupied only part of one carriageway, the ripple effect was such that traffic crawled for 6-7km until it was removed. The jam continued till 2pm. This is the route linking Noida to the airport.

At least 10 such major vehicle breakdowns are reported daily on Ring Road—whether public transport or heavy vehicles. “We have a team just to monitor such breakdowns and remove the vehicles from the site quickly,” Anil Shukla, additional commissioner of police (traffic), said. The traffic helpline receives at least a hundred calls from Ring Road.

“Once there is such a jam on Ring Road it takes nearly three hours to ease the traffic flow,” said a senior traffic official. Meanwhile, Metro construction on different stretches is adding to the chaos.

Traffic experts say disregard for lanes, huge traffic volume and a shorter merging distance on the flyovers on Ring Road cause snarls during peak hours. The road has three lanes on either side. When a heavy vehicle breaks down, commuters on that lane are squeezed into the remaining lanes. The flow opens out again, leading to a bottleneck.

Experts also blame the design of flyovers. “The merging distance for traffic which weaves into a fourth lane after descending a flyover is less and drivers tend to disregard lane rules, triggering a jam,” said N Renganathan, an expert. He said roads have reached their full capacity due to saturation of traffic. Ring Road witnesses nearly 50% of the total vehicular movement of the city.

Another cause of snarls is frequent changing of lanes. Police say a challan of Rs 100 is imposed on lane violators, but it has proved ineffective.



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