The inauguration of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) had an immediate impact in the capital, with more than 50,000 heavy vehicles waiting to drive through Delhi being diverted to the expressway from the city’s borders.
The number of trucks turned away on Sunday night was a third of the 1.5 lakh heavy vehicles that normally enter Delhi through the eastern border. Authorities said the diversion of such a large number of vehicles will lead to a discernable drop in the city’s air pollution levels during the course of this week.
A 2016 CSE study had estimated that 30% of the particulate matter emissions from city vehicles was being contributed by trucks.
The traffic police has deployed at least 50 personnel along eight border posts connecting Delhi to the EPE. They have been asked to coordinate with the UP and Haryana police to offer a turnaround facility to trucks not destined travel into the city.
Cops say that the biggest challenge for them is to facilitate the turn-arounds since the trucks are often overloaded. At times, the drivers intentionally avoid taking the EPE since weigh bridges installed at the approach roads detect the amount of load, leading to fines.
Overloaded vehicles are automatically diverted to lanes where they have to pay a penalty. Cops have proposed installation of similar weighbridges on roads leading to Delhi as well.
There are eight major entry points in Delhi’s eastern border and about 60 other stretches from where vehicles can enter the city. Traffic officials say trucks entering through these stretches crowd the Outer Ring Road, which is a major connecting route between south Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon.
At times, the presence of the non-destined trucks was clogging the Outer Ring Road even during daytime. On any given day, more than 500 trucks are found stalled for checking on this stretch.
It shows that where there is a will there”s a way. Kudos to Modi Government!Common Man
Cops say even after fining the trucks for crossing into the city, they would have to allow the vehicles to continue, since there are no turn-around facilities available. A truck has to travel about 80km if it’s passing through Delhi, while the EPE is approximately 40km longer, which the drivers try to avoid.
“During a meeting with traffic departments of neighbouring states, we requested that the vehicles are diverted before they reach the border so they are forced to use the EPE. This will set a precedence for truck drivers. They must know they cannot avoid the expressway if they want to get away with overloading,” said Dependra Pathak, special commissoner, traffic.