Chaos is expected on roads across south and central Delhi throughout this weekend as the Delhi Traffic Police on Thursday announced widespread restrictions spread across the region for the full dress rehearsal of its traffic measures during the G20 Summit, scheduled for September 9 and 10.
People have been advised to avoid travel to these regions, wherever possible, and have been asked to plan their routes well in advance in order to avoid a series of stretches where traffic could be halted several times through Saturday and Sunday to make way for cavalcades that will be part of the drill. Commuters have also been implored to take the Delhi Metro as much as possible if travelling through these areas over the weekend.
Among the stretches to be affected are the C-Hexagon, which surrounds the India Gate lawns, Sardar Patel Marg, Panchsheel Marg, the Barakhamba Road traffic junction, Mathura Road, Bhairon Road to Ring Road, Janpath to Kartavya Path, Tolstoy Marg to Janpath, and Joseph Tito Marg to Siri Fort Road.
Special commissioner of police (traffic) SS Yadav said traffic will not be affected for a long time on carriageways towards the New Delhi area. “C-Hexagon will be opened at regular intervals for the smooth flow of vehicles. Commuters are advised to fix their timings of journey accordingly,” he said.
“Adequate manning will be done at roundabouts and on roads where traffic moves from both sides to ensure smooth vehicular movement. The carcades will pass through restricted areas only for a certain span of time. So, it is not going to impact the traffic for a very long time. Taking cognisance of commuters’ problems, rehearsals are being conducted on weekends, when the offices will be closed,” he said.
On Saturday, restrictions are in place for rehearsals in three shifts — from 8.30am to noon, from 4.30pm to 6pm, and from 7pm to 11pm. Sunday’s rehearsal schedule too will be in three shifts — between 8am and 9am, 9.30am to 10.30am, and 12.30pm to 4pm.
Despite the restrictions, commuters headed for railway stations and airports will be able to use their private vehicles, auto-rickshaws and taxis. “But there could be congestion and delays, because of which they must keep sufficient time at hand and make use of metro services,” the traffic police said in a statement.
“If travelling is unavoidable, the public is advised to use Metro services.”
For the airport too, the traffic police advised commuters opt for the Metro. “…especially the Airport Express Line connecting New Delhi Station to Dwarka Sector 21 Station via IGI Airport T3,” said the traffic police.
Bus services will largely remain unaffected, though certain routes may be diverted from roads in New Delhi district, depending on the realtime traffic situation, said the traffic police.
The restrictions over the weekend will mimic curbs in place for the G20 Summit between September 8 and 10, with traffic police officers noting that the strictest measures will be applicable on September 9 and 10. The restrictions will particularly be strict in Lutyens’ Delhi, where only residents and those providing essential services will be allowed to enter after proving their identity.
All bus services in the city will be shut between midnight on September 7 and midnight on September 10, and the traffic police has advised the public to use Metro services.
To help commuters during the G20 Summit, the Delhi Traffic Police has launched a virtual help desk, which can be accessed at https://traffic.delhipolice.gov.in/dtpg20info. It will provide services such as the latest traffic updates, alternative routes, and other assistance, officers said.
Residents said the restrictions will hamper their weekend plans. “I had to attend a stand-up comedy show in central Delhi on Saturday and had extended plans in that area after that, but I will have to restrict my schedule,” said Pratik Kumar, a resident of South Extension.
Ritesh Sikar, who works with an MNC, said the restrictions were disrupting daily life. “The only good thing is that we are informed in advance about the disruptions,” said Sikar.