Workers will complete the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on Ferozepur Road in May and start work on the next stage soon after, including a 2.5-kilometre bus-only bridge over Qurtaba Chowk.
Officials of the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) told The Express Tribune that the first phase of the project, for the laying of a special bus track from Kahna to Kalma Chowk (around 10km), would be finished next month.
Once that is complete, workers will start preparing the BRTS track from Kalma Chowk to Qurtaba Chowk, a distance of around 4.2 kilometres, they said. They will simultaneously start building a 2.5-km flyover from Qurtaba Chowk to MAO College, said the TEPA officials. The works would be completed in October, they said.
The TEPA officials said that the PC-1 (project digest) for the elevated track had been submitted to the Planning and Development Department and they expected approval to be granted soon. They said that building an elevated track would obviate the need to buy costly land for the project.
Mazhar Hussain, the BRT project director and director for engineering construction at TEPA, said that work on both sections would begin simultaneously to save time. He said that the laying of track between Kalma Chowk and Qurtaba Chowk would take about three months, while building the elevated track would take around six months.
“At the present pace of work, we should be able to complete the first phase by mid-May,” he said. “The next phase will begin soon after.”
Hussain said that it was necessary to build an elevated track for the BRTS between Qurtaba Chowk and MAO College because the stretch was too congested and there was not enough space in this section for a dedicated bus-only lane down the middle of Ferozepur Road. “The BRTS flyover strip will also reduce the mess on the adjoining roads,” he said.
TEPA Assistant Director Ansar Butt said that 10 bus stops had been built along the stretch of BRTS track between Kahna and Kalma Chowk. Four more bus stops each are to be built along the second and third sections of the BRTS. The four bus stops on the elevated track would be at Qurtaba Chowk, Mozang Adda, Janazgah and at the Hailey College of Banking and Finance at the Punjab University’s Old Campus. He said that a total of 31 bus stops were to be installed for the whole project. He said the bus stops would be connected to the track via overhead bridges.
TEPA sources said that workers had also laid ducts along the BRTS track between Kahna and Kalma Chowk for the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project, which envisages the installation of high-tech cameras and sensors along the route for traffic management and monitoring. The ITS and BRTS projects are meant to be synergistic, since the cameras and sensors are supposed to ensure that the buses always get a green light. However, no funds have yet been released for the ITS.
The sources said that the ducts had been laid for wiring for the ITS system, so that workers would not have to dig up the track again when work on the ITS begins.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.