Traffic snarls are common on both sides of the eight-lane expressway, where vehicles are often seen crawling, especially during the rush hours.
An 800-metre stretch of NH-8 from Shiv Murti to Rajokri flyover in Delhi will be completely blocked over the next few days, and will remain closed for at least three months for construction of a flyover and two underpasses. These are part of the upcoming Dwarka Expressway project that has been visualised as an alternative route to connect Delhi and Gurgaon.
Nonetheless, closure of the NH-8 section is likely to be chaotic.
Officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is carrying out the construction, said on Monday that slip roads wider than the existing expressway have been built to carry the traffic load.
“The slip roads are not narrow. At 18 metres each, they are wider than the main carriageways, which are 14-metres-wide on both sides,” an NHAI official said.
Gurgaon cops said they too are working on a plan to ensure bottlenecks are avoided during the e-way closure. “We are in constant touch with Delhi Police. We are working to deal with the situation to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. We’ll notify our own diversion plan soon,” said ACP (highway) Shiva Archan.
According to traffic police, they began directing some of the commuters to the slip roads from March 11, but the expressway is still accessible. It will be blocked completely in the coming days. To go from Delhi to Gurgaon, the slip road will start near Shiv Murti and join the expressway back near Farmhouse Inn.
To get to the capital from Gurgaon, there are two slip roads. One that goes directly towards Delhi will run parallel to the existing e-way. Another will start near The Roseate luxury hotel in Samalka and go towards UER-II road for Dwarka.
Commuters said they are worried despite the plan.
Suman Agarwal, a Delhi resident, has to travel to Gurgaon for work daily. “Even now, traffic crawls on this section of the expressway in peak hours. The diversion will further complicate movement and lead to jams. I expect that my travel time will increase,” Agarwal said.
But others were hopeful that this hardship will be short lived.
“I had visited the area, and the slip roads are ready. I hope traffic movement will be handled in a way to avoid any jams or congestion,” said Prakhar Sahay, a Gurgaon resident who campaigned for construction of the Dwarka Expressway.
The NH-8 closure was necessitated to build a ‘stack intersection’ – surface road, two underpasses one below the other, and a flyover – in the area. One of the underpasses will connect the Dwarka Expressway with Nelson Mandela Marg, and the other, the Dwarka link road with NH-8. The flyover will be built over and above these, linking a CNG station and Shiv Murti.
The 29km under-construction Dwarka Expressway originates from Shiv Murti, crosses Dwarka and several new sectors of Gurgaon before culminating near Kherki Daula on NH-8. The project was conceived by the Haryana government in 2006 but got stuck due to land acquisition issues. NHAI took over the project in 2016 as the stretch was declared a national highway.
Work on it began in 2019 and was expected to be completed by 2021, but the pandemic delayed construction. The Gurgaon section of Dwarka Expressway is expected to be completed this year, but the portion in Delhi is likely to be ready by 2024.