Gurugram: Construction curbs hold up infra projects, trigger snarls on expressway

Gurugram: Nov 22, 2019  (Times of India)    

Two major projects by the National Highway Authorities of India have been stuck for around a month 

GURUGRAM: Multiple projects that were meant to remove the traffic congestion on one of the busiest stretches of the NCR, the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway (NH-8), have become a sore point for commuters as the ban on construction activities announced on November 4 has stalled work. While it is yet to be established how much the ban is contributing in bringing down pollution levels, its counter-effects are visible — daily-wage labourers have lost work and were forced to return to their native towns, and the traffic diversions are resulting in long tailbacks during peak hours.

On the 18km expressway between Sirhaul border and Kherki Daula toll plaza, two major projects by the National Highway Authorities of India have been stuck for around a month. On November 25, the Supreme Court will review the ban to decide if it should stay on. Till then, uncertainty looming over the completion of these projects means the painful traffic jams will continue.

The 14 lanes of the 36-lane highway will remain blocked till the construction of the Ambience Mall underpass on NH-8 is finished. The ban comes as a major blow for this project and for the commuters who were hoping for bottlenecks to clear up in the near future.

“First, there was a delay in finding a solution to drainage lines that were coming in the way. Then came the elections and the momentum slowed down further. Right after, the festive season arrived and many workers were unavailable during those days. And, just when we thought the situation will come under control, this ban was implemented. For months, there has been no progress. It has completely disrupted the momentum,” argued an NHAI official.

Just about 13km away from this traffic pressure point, the deck slab on the damaged Hero Honda flyover is yet to be restored. On October 31, the traffic diversion plan which prohibited traffic movement on Jaipur-Delhi side of the flyover, was implemented to facilitate the restoration. But that work could not even start yet. As a result, the repair project that was to be completed by December 1 will not be able to begin before the first week of December, provided the ban is lifted on November 25 and the labourers that returned to their hometowns, are brought back, and other resources are organised timely.

According to contractors looking after these projects, it will take at least 7-10 days to get back the work force and another week to get the momentum back after the ban is lifted.

“It’s not just a delay of one month, the work has been pulled back by several weeks. Now, once the ban is removed, getting the labourers and organising them will take some time. Also, officials and supervisors have also lost the momentum and they’ll too take time to get back to the same rhythm with which the work was going on earlier. We can’t help but keep the traffic restrictions unless the work is complete,” said an official of RK Contractor which is carrying out the work on the underpass near Ambience Mall and an elevated U-turn flyover at Shankar Chowk.

Lending weight to the argument, an official at Valecha Engineering, a company hired to repair the damaged portion of Hero Honda Chowk flyover, noted, “Even if the ban is lifted by the end of this month, it’ll take a week to get back to work with full force.”