An hour of rain was all it took to trigger off major snarls and gridlocks in south Delhi on Thursday morning. Dhaula Kuan area, which comes under the Public Works Department (PWD), was the worst hit with three out of the four lanes completely submerged in water. Traffic was forced to pass through one lane, causing major jams on both sides of the carriageway.
This triggered bumper-to-bumper jams right up to Moti Bagh and Brar Square, said traffic police. Though PWD used all six pumps to drain the water, the exercise proved futile due to the heavy flow of water. Commuters had to wait for almost an hour-and-a-half to cross the stretch.
“It was a traffic nightmare. This happens every year, but there is no improvement. We dread stepping out of the house when it rains because roads get waterlogged. Why don’t the civic agencies ever learn?” said Juhi Vinod, a resident of Hauz Khas who was stuck in the jam.
According to traffic police, they had sent a list of these spots to the civic agencies concerned – including Dhaula Kuan – where waterlogging was reported last year. However, with waterlogging complaints pouring in from the same areas, little seems to have been done.
“We had to divert traffic on the Benito Juarez Marg, but that didn’t work. Commuters were unwilling to follow the diversions as they were headed in different destinations. Traffic crawled as a result and the stretch was jammed till afternoon. It was a mess, though we did our best to manage the traffic,” said a senior traffic police officer.
“We had no option but to divert traffic to Benito Juarez Marg from one side and there was little option for vehicles coming from Brar Square,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.
Commuters bound for the airport as well as Dwarka were badly affected. Waterlogging was reported from Sanjay T-point where the Rao Tula Ram Road meets the airport road. This caused long jams in the area as well as on Gurgaon Road and Parade Road, traffic police said.
“A vehicle broke down on the Rao Tula Ram Flyover and we had to close the flyover after vehicles from the other carriageway entered into the wrong carriageway. Vehicles were head-to-head, resulting in longer jams. Traffic virtually came to a standstill. Traffic from Mahipalpur had already been diverted towards RTR because of heavy waterlogging in that area,” said a traffic cop.
“It required a tremendous amount of traffic management in RTR as the situation was bad. People should not go on the wrong carriageway in case of a breakdown,” added JCP Garg.
Meanwhile, PWD officials said they had already fixed the drains in Dhaula Kuan underpass. “We have repaired the drains. If the pumps prove inefficient, we will consider adding more pumps. Waterlogging was cleared after 15 minutes. If there is heavy rain, flooding is possible. Our intent is to ensure this water is pumped out at the earliest,” said a senior PWD official.
Massive jams were also reported from Mahipalpur where waterlogging was reported from under the NH-8 and Mahipalpur junction. “Vehicles could not move on the Mehrauli-Mahipalpur Road and diversions were placed on RTR and NH-8, causing huge jams,” said a senior traffic police officer.
Waterlogging and subsequent traffic congestion were also reported from Kashmere Gate ISBT, Boulevard Road, Chhatta Rail, Mori Gate, Gole Dak Khana and Mandir Marg. Congestion was also reported from Najafgarh, which affected Dwarka-bound traffic.