KARACHI: The Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System project, run under the federal government, is facing delay due to changes in its design.
The project has come under criticisms from the Sindh government and Quaid-i-Azam Mazar Management Board (QMMB).
Running from Surjani Town to Municipal Park near Jamia Cloth market, the project was to be completed this year. However, as per the revised schedule, construction work on Phase I from Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi will be completed in April, 2018. The tender for Phase II to run from Taj Medical Complex to Tower has however been canceled due to changes in the design.
On the directives of Sindh government, the World Bank has submitted a road map for Red Line, Yellow Line and Blue Line BRTs till Numaish Chowrangi, while work for formulating designs from Taj Medical Complex till Tower will be completed within three months, after which the federal government will undertake the development project in March next year.
The Karachi Infrastructure Development Company (KIDC) initiated the Green Line BRT project in January last year. This project is being developed in two phases. The cost of construction of Phase 1 from Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi, which is 19.5 kilometres long, is Rs18 billion while Rs6.6 billion were allocated for constructing the 3.5 kilometre-long stretch from Taj Medical Complex to Municipal Park. The total cost of the project is Rs24.6 billion.
Talking to Express News, the concerned officials said that 80% construction work for Phase I has been completed while flyovers at Sakhi Hassan, Five Star and KDA intersections and interchange on Board Office have already been constructed. Construction of an elevated road from Golimar to Gurumandir has almost been completed. However, the construction work from Gurumandir to Numaish Chowrangi has come to a halt.
KIDC General Manager Zubair Channa said that a 1.75 kilometre-long underpass will be constructed from Gurumandir to Bundu Khan Hotel to address the reservations of the QMMB. Digging has been done in the area.
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As per the original plan, there was a need for elevated construction from Gurumandir to Municipal Park but the QMMB and civil society did not agree to such construction arguing that it would overshadow the scenic view of Quaid's mausoleum, said Channa, adding that changes had to be brought in accordingly.
A plan for laying the foundation of the underpass from Gurumandir to Bundu Khan Hotel, along with design for Taj Medical Complex to Municipal Par was formulated, which took three months, he said. Hence, the work could not be initiated in the prescribed time.
When the design was finalised, the Sindh government informed the KIDC that the Yellow Line, Red Line and Blue Line BRTs will pass through the Numaish Chowrangi and hence, a provision will also be provided for them at the underpass.
Therefore, the World Bank has submitted the new designs, according to which, the underpass at Numaish Chowrangi will now have three lanes, instead of two.
As per the Yellow Line BRT project, there will also be a separate loop for Sharae Quaideen. A U-turn will also be constructed to facilitate the travellers.
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The World Bank will complete the design from Taj Medical Complex till Tower in three months, after which the federal government will decide on whether to undertake elevated construction work or lay tracks.
Channa said that due to these reasons, tender for portion of Taj Medical Complex to Municipal Park was cancelled. The World Bank will submit the new design in February next year, after which the tender will be accepted again and the construction work will begin by March.
After its completion, the Green Line BRT project will be handed over to the Sindh government, which is responsible for running the buses in the city, Channa said.
UP Mor, Numaish Chowrangi to remain closed next month
Roads close to UP Mor to Nagan Chowrangi and Numaish Chowrangi will be closed for traffic next month due to construction work of the Green Line BRT project.
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In consultation with the traffic police, an alternative plan has been prepared to assure the smooth flow of traffic in the city.
The concerned engineers of KIDC told Express News that during the construction of the underpass, the Numaish intersection will be blocked for traffic. Roads from Soldier Bazaar Number 3, Jamaat Khana to Numaish Chowrangi and Lines Area to Nizami Road will be blocked.
In order to move from the Nizami Road to Gurumandir, traffic will be diverted towards a U-turn from the Taj Medical Complex intersection.
The same route would also be followed for going from Jamaat Khana to Sharae Quaideen.
The roundabout from UP Mor to Nagan Chowrangi will also remain closed for traffic due to the construction work for an elevated structure.
KIDC has formulated an alternative road near the Sindh government hospital and the service road. In order to widen the service road, KIDC has made provision over the rain drain and it will be carpeted. On the advice of the traffic police, a traffic sign will also be installed in the area.
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The alternative plan has been prepared in consultation with the traffic police, claimed KIDC engineers. The route from UP Mor to Nagan Chowrangi is a main road, hence special attention is being given to the construction work in the area. The alternative service roads and the drain under construction will be carpeted to ensure smooth traffic flow.
Traffic will be blocked from UP Mor to Nagan Chowrangi on a trial basis and if the traffic remains unaffected with the blockage, the plan will be carried forward and this part of the street will remain closed for traffic for three months.