LAHORE: The city remained in the grip of a massive gridlock on Monday as all major roads were pockmarked with barriers, hurdles and diversions; all of which were installed for security during the cricket Independence Cup.
Local administration and City Traffic Police closed down all roads leading to Gaddafi Stadium and Pearl Continental Hotel where international players were staying. Commuters remained stranded on Ferozepur Road, Canal Road, Main Boulevard Gulberg, Mall Road, Lawrence Road, Davis Road, Ghari Shahu, Egerton Road, Queens Road, Temple Road and other adjoining areas.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, a motorist named Muhammad Hussain said he was trying to pick up his daughter from school, but had been stuck in the traffic mess on Main Ferozepur Road. He cursed the traffic police and city authorities for making, what he called, “pathetic arrangements”.
Another local, Sarfraz Ahmad, highlighted that he took almost an hour-and-a-half to reach his office due to serious traffic congestion. “On normal days, I travel the same distance in hardly in half-an-hour. However, I’ve been stuck in this traffic thanks to the inadequate arrangements of security agencies,” he added.
Similar remarks were made by several other passengers who faced serious hardships owing to traffic congestion in the provincial metropolis. However, Lahore Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Rai Ejaz claimed that the City Traffic Police has made an alternative traffic plan for the convenience of cricket lovers and the public at large. To maintain the smooth flow of traffic, he highlighted that a special team was formed under his supervision and comprised the Gujranwala and Multan CTOs, Saddar Division SP Traffic, City Division SP Traffic, Sialkot SP Traffic and seven SPs. Twenty DSPs, 67 inspectors, 162 patrolling officers and 1,268 wardens have also been deployed to ensure there are no gridlocks.
He indicated that five traffic squads have also been formed to clear traffic congestion in busy areas and choke points. Five breakdown vehicles and 23 forklifts have also been provided to the city traffic police to remove out of order or unattended vehicles from the roads.
According to the alternative traffic plan prepared by the City Traffic Police, two-way traffic is allowed on Mall Road, Jail Road and Canal Road. In reality, however, Mall Road remained closed for all types of vehicles from Club Chowk to Governor House to provide security to international cricketers staying at the Pearl Continental Hotel. It caused severe traffic congestion on Davis Road, Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat, Lawrence Road, Temple Road, Queens Road and other adjoining areas.
The alternative traffic plan indicates that traffic coming from Kahna and Kot Lakhpat will use Walton Road to access Lahore Cantonement and Mughalpura areas. Traffic coming from Kahna will use Peco Road, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Canal Bank Road and Wahdat Road to access Ichara Bazar as Ferozepur Road will remain closed in front of Gaddafi Stadium. Traffic will remain normal at Firdous Market, Hussain Chowk, MM Alam Road, Mini Market, Main Boulevard Gulberg and Siddique Trade Centre. The road will remain open from Siddique Trade Centre to Qurtaba Chowk on Jail Road.
City Traffic Police has also designated parking places for match spectators. Cricket lovers coming from Mughalpura, Mall Road, Mozang, Ichra, Wahdat Road and Shah Jamal will park their vehicles at the FC College parking. Traffic coming from Kahna, Kot Lakhpat and Ferozepur Road will use Walton Road to park their vehicles in the Liberty Market parking lot. Traffic coming from Motorway Thokar Niaz Baig, Wapda Town, Garden Town and Township will park vehicles at Barkat Parking Plaza.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2017.