KARACHI: The city’s dream of having a mass transit system inched closer to reality on Friday when Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah laid down the foundation for the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
The ceremony was held at Orangi Town’s Town Municipal Administration (TMA) ground, from where the BRT will run in segregated lanes all the way to Board Office, where it will join the Green Line BRT, through a rotary flyover that is under construction. The project, worth Rs1.14 billion, is being funded by the Sindh government. The project infrastructure will be spread over 2.3km, of which 0.7km will be elevated while 1.5km will be on ground, whereas, the 1.5 Km will be semi dedicated section. The entire project is spread over 3.9km.
There will be four stations — one of which will be elevated — along the route, which will be six metres wide and 70 metres long. All stations will have elevators and escalators. The planners expect 50,000 people to ride the Orange Line every day, whereas the system capacity is 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction. “Residents of this area [Orangi Town] were in dire need of this project,” said Shah, recalling the time when he was a rehabilitation minister in the year 1972 and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto allotted 2,500 acres for the people of Orangi. “Orangi Town was developed by Bhutto.”
Meanwhile, Sindh transport minister Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani promised to extend the Orange Line from TMA Orangi to further inside Orangi Town.
Route for Orange Line
BRT Orange Line consultants, National Engineering Services Pakistan (pvt) Limited’s, principal engineer Rehan Zamin, who is also the project manager of the Orange Line BRT, told The Express Tribune that the Orange Line will kick off from TMA Orangi. A rotary flyover will be constructed on the green belt, which will have the capacity to facilitate another loop of the flyover, in case the Orange Line is extended inside Orangi Town, he said. With the rotary flyover, he explained that the Orange Line could turn back towards Nazimabad or enter inside Orangi Town, if it is extended.
After TMA Orangi, the next major intersection is at Panch Number. This intersection will be cross elevated with an elevated station in between, he said. Before the Ponay Panch Chowrangi, the flyover will end and the Orange Line will run on the central median, he said. Here the project managers plan to give U-turns for crossing traffic.
“We will not lessen the lanes for normal traffic,” assured Zamin, adding that there will be three lanes on both sides. The size of the lanes can, however, be adjusted as per standards, he added.
After Panch Number Chowrangi, a 40-metre-wide bridge will be contructed over Orangi Nullah and the Orange Line will run in mix traffic, he explained. At the Bacha Khan flyover, the Orange Line will run on the median, which will be separated by road studs. During the construction of the flyover, he said that the provision of the BRT was kept in mind. The Orange Line will occupy some parts of the flyover but, during emergencies, other vehicles will be able to use it. At Abdullah College Chowrangi, an on-ground station will be built and a U-turn will be provided, said Zamin. From this point towards Jinnah University, the Orange Line will run on ground on the central median, where another station will be built. After that point, he said that they have an option to either join the Green Line BRT track or turn back towards Orangi Town.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2016.