LAHORE: Ongoing construction activity on 11 elevated stations of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) package-1 (from Dera Gujjaran and Chauburji) may cause a fatal accident at any time if precautionary measures are not taken.
OLMT package-1 contractor Habib Construction Services CEO Shahid Saleem warned the National Engineering Service Pakistan (NESPAK) project consultant to review the design of elevated metro train stations and construction activity.
Addressing the project’s weekly progress review meeting on Wednesday, Saleem indicated that NESPAK engineers suggested that the contractor should install shuttering underneath the metro station even after the completion of the first level. He said his company had already completed construction of the first slab of the metro station and it would be fine if the consultant allowed the building of upper storeys without shuttering support.
“After deploying heavy equipment for the construction of the upper level, there is little space left for traffic and the sudden fall of a pipe or other material could prove fatal, especially for motorists.” He suggested NESPAK allow the contractor to remove the upper storey shuttering and allow traffic to move underneath the station.
OLMT Steering Committee Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan directed NESPAK’s representatives to pay attention to the contractor’s concern and review the design. He said the safety of citizens and workers was the prime responsibility of all agencies working on the mega project.
Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Chief Engineer Israr Saeed also supported the contractor’s viewpoint, to which a NESPAK representative assured participants that the company would revisit the design and come up with a workable solution.
China Engineering Consultancy (CEC) also observed that the process of slab construction of elevated stations and launching of u-tub girders was underway to enhance safety of construction being completed at a height.
Chinese consultants had also asked the package-2 (from Chaburji to Ali Town) contractor to submit a proper works schedule for different development activities as construction had resumed on the site after two and a half months.
CEC experts also suggested traffic should be stopped in different areas along the site of package-2 to enhance the pace of construction activity. Chinese engineers also requested package-3 and package-4 contractors to deploy sufficient machinery on the site to increase the pace of work. A resident engineer of the package-3 disclosed that Chinese workers, working on external plumbing works, were ignoring leakage testing before backfilling. He added any leakage would cause a huge loss of time and money.
Hassaan asked Chinese companies’ representatives to make sure proper testing was done before backfilling. He also asked the contractors to increase their presence on the site to ensure better coordination.
NESPAK representatives also presented an international standard signage solution, similar to Dubai Metro, that would guide commuters. They told meeting participants that the solution would be integrated with GPS technology and inform the commuter which important hospitals, educational institutes or public offices were around. Signage solution would also have 3D maps and pictograms that would help even illiterate commuters to understand directions.
Hassaan also disclosed that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had approved property and professional tax waiver to business owners affected by the construction of the metro train.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2016.