The Punjab government has decided to launch work on all remaining sections of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and hope to finish the project in six months, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The project to build a double bus-only lane down the centre of Ferozepur Road from Youhanabad to Shahdara at a cost of Rs22 billion has been divided into six packages. Work on the 10.1-kilometre package 1, from Youhanabad to Kalma Chowk, is to be completed in one month, said Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) officials.
A company was selected to work on the 4.9-km package two, from Kalma Chowk to Qurtaba Chowk, about a week ago and it has set up a site office. The plants on the green belt on Ferozepur Road from Kalma Chowk to the Muslim Town flyover have been removed.
Tenders for packages three and four, which will consist of a 4.1-km elevated lane from Qurtaba Chowk to Data Darbar, are to be issued in three days, while tenders for packages five (Data Darbar to Niazi Adda, a distance of 2.5 km) and six (a 5.5-km stretch from Niazi Adda to Shahdara) are also to be allotted within a week, said officials.
The Planning and Development Department has approved the elevated lane to be built in packages three and four. An official said that the Old Ravi Bridge would serve as the BRTS lane for package five and would be closed to general traffic.
Former Lahore Development Authority director general Sibtain Fazal-i-Haleem has been made the project director for the entire BRTS. TEPA Director Mazhar Hussain Khan is project director for packages one and two, TEPA Director Israr Saeed for packages three and four, and Deputy Chief Engineer Saifur Rehman for packages five and six.
Officials connected with the project said that they were currently deciding what land purchases would be necessary for the BRTS route. They said that large amounts of land would be required for packages two, three and four and they anticipated protests in some cases.
An official said that three to ten feet of land from the edge of the road would be required at Ichhra, and around 21 feet at Shama on Ferozepur Road. Land would also have to be bought from the Old Hailey College for package three.
He said that several shops would have to torn down at Qurtaba Chowk, and many shops on one side of Lytton Road. Shops at the corner of Lake Road would also have to be demolished. He said that the construction of packages five and six would be simpler and did not require extensive land acquisition.
TEPA Planning Director Khalid Mehmood Alvi said that it was a good idea to start work on the entire project at once. “It will mean finishing in the shortest possible time and I think the project will be completed in six months or so,” he said.
It would also mean that the project is finished while the PML-Nawaz remains in the government, so that a successor government could not shelve it, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.