Even as Delhi faced major traffic snarls owing to repair work at the Lajpat Nagar flyover for the second consecutive day, a senior Public Works Department (PWD) official said the city will see congestion throughout the month.
According to officials at the PWD, “the repair work at the Lajpat Nagar flyover was necessary as the metal girders on the flyover had shrunk in the winter and the binding material had fallen through”. A massive gap had developed between the two girders of the flyover last week.
“This is a usual process. Gap is kept between two bars to make sure no undue pressure is experienced on the structure during summer — when the metal expands. However, during the winter, the metal contracts. The gaps will be filled in with building material, and work under the first phase is expected to be complete by January 14. After that, work on the second phase will start,” said a senior PWD engineer.
The traffic nightmare, it seems, is far from over — with repair work about to commence on the Akshardham flyover as well. “The second phase of repair work on the Lajpat Nagar flyover and the pending work on Akshardham flyover means that the traffic situation in Delhi will remain bad all of January,” said a senior PWD official.
With the Lajpat Nagar flyover closed for repairs for the second day in a row, traffic jams ensued for kilometres — for those commuting from Ashram towards Moolchand — as traffic was diverted from under the flyover. At four points on the flyover, repair work is on. PWD Minister Satyendar Jain, too, said that “the maintenance work was routine and there was nothing out of the ordinary about the gaps”.
On Tuesday afternoon, commuters were stuck in traffic lasting 45 minutes or more. Ranjay Sharma (30), an autorickshaw driver, said, “I noticed the gap more than 10 days ago, and as soon as I would get on the flyover, I would drive slower. It seemed risky because the gap had widened. This shutting down of the flyover is a major inconvenience, as a distance of 5 km takes 45 minutes to cover”.
Vicky Duggal, 38, a commuter going towards Greater Kailash from the DND flyway, said, “The authorities need to ensure that announcements of flyovers being shut down for repair are made, so that commuters can take alternative routes.”
“We had informed the traffic police well in advance about the repairs. It seems adequate arrangements have not been made to handle the situation on the ground,” a PWD official said.
On January 1, DCP Traffic (South), Vijay Singh, released a traffic advisory, which said, “There will be congestion on the adjoining roads due to repair work. To avoid congestion and delays, the road users and motorists are advised to take Mathura Road, Ashram Chowk, Ring Road, Mool Chand flyover/Lodhi Road, Bhishm Pitamah Marg or Ring Road while commuting from south Delhi to central/New Delhi and vice-versa.”