Commuters travelling between Noida and south Delhi during peak hours on DND Flyway and on Mathura road will have to brave traffic snarls till 14 February when the Kalindi Kunj carriageway gets fully repaired.
The DND Flyway and Mathura Road (NH-2) have been the worst hit since the Delhi-Noida carriageway of the bridge was closed on 23 December. Jams lasting for hours are choking key arterial roads connecting south Delhi with east, west, north Delhi and Noida. Trucks and heavy vehicles from Mathura Road, which is the main link between Delhi and Kolkata, are spilling onto the DND Flyway adding to the chaos.
Angry travellers blame the sudden increase in heavy vehicular traffic for the painfully long jams.
"Nothing seems to be moving. It used to take me half an hour to reach my residence in Noida from my Okhla office. But for the last few weeks, it is taking me over two hours to reach home," said Pradeep Mittal. He added that there has been a substantial increase in truck movement on DND.
Businessman Sumit Khandelwal said, "I started two hours in advance for a meeting in Badarpur yesterday (Wednesday) and still reached late. Normally it takes me less than half an hour from my residence in Jasola."
A DND official admitted to the increase in the number of trucks on the toll road: "Some 15 days ago, we had received a communication from the MCD asking us to ensure that trucks that are passing through Delhi should be stopped from entering the city. Now, we are individually checking all trucks and are turning back those plying through Delhi to some other state. It is a time consuming job and is adding to the confusion," said Anwar Abbasi, spokesperson of Noida Toll Bridge Co Ltd, the DND Flyway operator. Over 90,000 cars travel on the DND every day and the repair work of the Kalindi Kunj bridge has added an additional 30% traffic, said Abbasi.
A Delhi traffic police officer said that the construction of an underpass near Sarita Vihar to ease the Noida-Okhla traffic created a bottleneck when the repair work on the Kalindi Kunj bridge started and worsened the situation. "As a result, a lot of traffic from Mathura Road is getting diverted to Maharani Bagh, where the DND Flyway ends," said the police officer.
Meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor's office had recently written to the Delhi police asking it to stop the plying of trucks inside the capital before 9 p.m. "It has come to the notice of the LG that due to the closure of the Kalindi Kunj bridge, traffic has increased manifold on Mathura Road. We have sent a notification to the Joint Commissioner of Police Traffic asking them to look at alternate routes to manage the rush. We have also said that for the two months that the repair work is on, trucks should be allowed to ply only after 9 p.m.," Ranjan Mukherjee, officer on special duty to the LG, told The Sunday Guardian.
When this newspaper contacted Joint Commissioner of Police Traffic Satyendra Garg, he merely said, "We are looking into the matter." Traffic police officers have also thrown up their hands, saying snarls on the route from Noida to Delhi are inevitable as there is no alternative route.
The Kalindi Kunj bridge, which is being repaired by the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department, is expected to repaired by 14 February. "As per the details available with us, the Delhi to Noida side of the Kalindi Kunj bridge will remain closed till 15 January and the Noida to Delhi will be closed till 14 February," said M.P. Singh, SP, Noida traffic.