KARACHI: Commuters were left stranded for hours due to the traffic gridlock near Jail Chowrangi on main University Road on Thursday after a sewerage water line burst in the vicinity.
The sewerage line, which burst on Wednesday night, flooded major thoroughfares including main University Road, New MA Jinnah Road and their adjoining streets. The water caused hours-long traffic blockades at University Road, New MA Jinnah Road, New Town, Pir Sibghatullah Rashidi Road, Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Jail Chowrangi, Kashmir Road, Sharae Quaideen and Sir Shah Suleman Road, among others.
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The worst hit were commuters on the way to work in the morning rush hour and those returning home after office hours. Several ambulances also remained stuck in the traffic jam, with patients in need of emergency care stranded amid the sea of cars and motorcycles. In some cases, vehicles ran out of fuel due to the long wait times and had to be pushed to the side of the ride.
A huge pit, several feet wide and deep, was formed where the sewerage line burst. Multiple motorcyclists were injured when they accidentally fell into it. Other commuters helped the injured motorcyclists out of the pit.
Stuck in the jam for several hours, several enraged citizens started shouting slogans against the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and the traffic police. “It’s been several hours since the sewerage line has burst, but they haven’t been able to fix it yet,” said one motorcyclist.
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Another commuter lambasted the traffic police, saying no diversion or alternative traffic routes had been devised despite being aware of the situation. “They could have informed citizens of the situation,” he said, adding that traffic was being diverted to different roads after people were already stuck in the jam.
Later, Sindh Police chief IG Dr Kaleem Imam took notice of the situation and ordered the Traffic DIG to make concerted efforts to clear the gridlock. He also directed the zonal DIG of the operations police to cooperate with traffic police personnel and divert traffic to alternative routes.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2019.
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