To many who wish to travel to Crossings Republik township in Ghaziabad or Greater Noida (West), the Delhi Meerut Expressway (DME) is still out of bounds as the authorities are yet to open an underpass near ABES Engineering College.
The national highways authority of India (NHAI), which constructed the DME, had left a median incomplete there, which commuters use to cross the road into incoming traffic and access the Shahberi road (also known as main Crossings Republik road) that leads to Crossings Republik and highrises in Greater Noida (West). The broken median is also an access for those who wish to move from these areas to the DME and onwards to Dasna and Meerut.
The setup is risky with fast moving traffic from both sides, leaving sudden brakes difficult to execute. The upper speed limit on the DME in Uttar Pradesh is 100 kmph.
“It is a big risk that commuters have to take but that has been the situation for months now. The underpasses that could have avoided this have not be opened up even though the DME was opened officially on April 1,” said Namita Gaur, resident of Crossings Republik.
An alternative route that the more cautious commuter takes is Vijay Nagar to Greater Noida link road (to and fro) which is near Pratap Vihar. This involves an estimated additional travel of 3-4 kms in order to reach Greater Noida (West).
The area near the ABES College is also major traffic junction for commuters. Just 500 metres away is the under construction railway over bridge (ROB) at Chipiyana. At the point, a 14-lane DME is suddenly bottlenecked into the current four-lane ROB.
“In the absence of the underpasses, commuting has become risky on DME due to high flow of traffic and poses serious risk of accidents. There is no signage indicating the diversion towards Crossings Republik Township. Residents of Greater Noida (West) also move through the median of DME and take the Shahberi Road to go to their destination,” said Tarun Bharat Chauhan, president of Crossings Republik Owners & Members Association.
The junction and the ROB are part of the DME’s phase 2 which is about 19.2km linking UP Gate and Dasna. It is estimated that around 60,000 passenger car units (PCU, a parameter that is determined by taking into account different vehicle types that ply on the road) per day.
“The junction area is also poorly lit at night,” said Chauhan.
“At the junction, there is major issue of wrong side driving as commuters have no alternative. When commuters further go to the ROB, there are traffic snarls due to pending construction and it sometimes results in long traffic jams up to the junction,” said Namita Gaur.
NHAI officials said they had opened the median as a temporary measure for commuters.
“The underpasses will be made operational soon and others works will also be taken up as required. Proper lighting and signage will also be put in place,” said Mudit Garg, project director of NHAI. “Six more lanes of the ROB will be complete by June and the rest by December-end,” Garg added.