IFFCO chowk-a-block, crying for a redesign

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GURGAON: If you came to the Millennium City for fun, this should have been the place – IIFCO Chowk, the entry to the Mall Mile and indeed, Gurgaon’s premium brand of good life.

But fun is precisely what a drive through IFFCO Chowk ensures you don’t have.

The intersection of Mehrauli Gurgaon Road and the Old Delhi-Jaipur Road, IFFCO Chowk is the city’s worst chokepoint. The expressway flies over this intersection as an elevated road, leaving it in a mesh of faulty design, undisciplined traffic and general mismanagement.

For an intersection as important as this one, IFFCO Chowk ought to have had a direct interface with the expressway. However, like most other important intersections of Gurgaon, the connection comes in the form of the narrow, barely two-lane Old Delhi-Jaipur Road, which doubles as a service lane for expressway-bound traffic headed towards both the Jaipur and Delhi sides. It’s the same for vehicles coming to Gurgaon from the Jaipur and Delhi sides.

Consequently, when thousands of cars converge on IFFCO Chowk through the service lanes and MG Road, it leads to long hours of traffic chaos in the morning and evening. Every day. The relaying of MG Road has also cut traffic speed, leading to a spillover choking effect on the intersection.

There are a few bylanes that branch out from MG Road that could have eased vehicle pressure by diverting some expressway-bound traffic towards Signature Tower. But bafflingly, these roads have no traffic management plan in place, not even one-way or two-way demarcations. So, unless lady luck has hitched a ride with you, a drive through any of these lanes is likely to be as frustrating as travelling through IFFCO Chowk.

“To manage the flow of traffic at IFFCO, one has to look at the entire zone for solutions,” says YP Sachdeva, GM (urban transport) at RITES. “The way things are in Gurgaon now, if you try to declutter IFFCO Chowk alone, you could create a toothpaste effect and the traffic could end up clogging Signature Towers,” he adds. The RITES building itself is located in Sector 29, a few hundred metres from IIFCO Chowk.

Sachdeva feels the inner arteries near IFFCO Chowk need to be “managed as a whole and the roads need divided into a one-way system”. Stressing the need for a redesign of the Chowk, he sees “ample scope for it given the space availability”.

Raj Vir Singh, former chief planner of the Haryana government has a similar view. “If we can redesign major parts of IFFCO Chowk, only then will traffic issues of the area be solved,” he says.

Till a redesign plan is drawn up and IFFCO Chowk is either widened or better linked with the expressway, the traffic department, the experts feel, needs to focus on directing and disciplining traffic in the area, especially during the weekend mall-rush. Traffic marshals positioned under the expressway at the U-turn need to be better trained while auto stands on either side of IFFCO Chowk could be shifted away from the junction so they don’t clog the underpass during the peak hours.



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