Gurgaon civic body officials and the Traffic Police hit upon a plan to decongest Shankar Chowk while inspecting the junction last week. Officials found 16 defunct stormwater drains alongside the Expressway and service roads, which they have decided to convert into underpasses for the use of pedestrians.
Six of these drains are in the stretch between MG Road and IFFCO Chowk while several are in Old Gurgaon. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been given the task of ‘unclogging’ these drains and converting them into underpasses. “There are 16 underpasses across the National Highway area which are currently unused. Once they are spruced up, they can be used by pedestrians to cross the road,” read a statement from the office of Joint Commissioner (Traffic).
According to officials, pedestrians used to use the defunct drains — that stretch all the way from Shankar Chowk to Kherki Daula — to cross the National Highway 8 before the expressway was constructed.
Sources said while the Expressway was being constructed, there was no sewer line in these culverts. “Once Gurgaon began developing, these culverts were used as dumping pits which led to clogging,” said an NHAI official.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Rao Narbir Singh instructed NHAI to get the ‘underpasses’ cleaned so that pedestrians can use them on ‘car-free day’ on September 29. However, NHAI officials said that ‘these culverts can only be cleaned and turned into underpasses temporarily.
“These drains were constructed when the Expressway was being built. Because of the absence of longitudinal drains before the Expressway was built, these drains could never be used,” said A K Sharma, Project Director, NHAI.
However, Traffic police along with civic officials plan to clean the drains near Shankar Chowk in time for the second car-free day. Sources said the NHAI is planning to connect these defunct drains with the permanent longitudinal drains on the Expressway. But Sharma said, “The option of converting all of them into an underpass is not very feasible.”