LAHORE: The southern loop of the Lahore Ring Road (LRR) is now in the final stage of completion and expected to be opened on December 22. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will inaugurate the project.
Lahore Division Commissioner and Lahore Ring Road Authority (LLRA) Chairperson Abdullah Khan Sumbal inspected development works of the road and visited different sections of the Ring Road between Kamahan and Adda Plot (Raiwind) on Sunday.
The commissioner expressed his satisfaction over the pace and quality of development works. He said most development works, including construction of roads, pedestrian bridges, drainages, foundations and installations of electric poles and lights, pipe linings and toll plaza have been completed and now final touches are being made to the project.
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He highlighted that the road has been equipped with intelligent transportation system (ITS) and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for monitoring and security. The horticulture works have also been completed, in which Turkish design elements are used.
The length of LRR southern loop is 22.35 kilometres from Kamahan to Adda Plot (Raiwind) via Gajumatta. It has 15 subways for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. After the inauguration, the LRR southern loop will improve traffic management and dramatically reduce the travelling time between north and south parts of the city.
According to the Punjab Planning and Development Department, the bidding process for the LRR southern loop’s section-3 (SL-III) has already been initiated. The alignment for the SL-III passes through Pakistan Medical Society and Bahria Town and ends on Multan Road. A Right Of Way (ROW) of 90 metres has been adopted in general for the whole alignment of the project except at interchanges proposed at Pakistan Medical Society on Multan Road or in the areas where such ROW could not be maintained due to the site or design constraints.
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According to an initial estimate, construction of SL-III will cost Rs8 billion and the project has a concession period of 25 years. This section will have two interchanges, three bridges, three underpasses for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, ITS and other allied facilities. As the project is being initiated in public-private partnership mode so the concessionaire will be responsible for the overall implementation of the project, including but not limited to the investigation, study, engineering, procurement, construction, financing and operation and maintenance of the project.
In May, the government has also given approval for construction of SL-III under public-private partnership (PPP) model. But a contract for construction of this section hasn't yet been awarded. This 8.5-kilometre section will connect Adda Plot and Multan Road to complete the ring around provincial capital and improve mobility and traffic management in almost all areas of the city.
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The government has also planned to develop mini forests on both sides of the road as oxygen pockets to improve the environment in the city. The LRR southern loop is constructed by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) on private-public partnership mode under build-own-transfer (BOT) model.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a recent project review meeting highlighted the completion of the LRR southern loop will expedite the economic and social activity in the city. The project will offer better transport facility for both passenger and goods movement.
Earlier, the government had targeted to complete the project in July, 2017 but it failed to complete the project on the deadline due to the delay in land acquisition and litigation. The project has already been delayed by over a decade because of political reasons and unavailability of required resources.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2017.