Almost two months after the opening of the Kalma Chowk flyover on Ferozepur Road, traffic beneath the bridge at one of the busiest junctions in the city remains a mess due to work on the service lanes.
The flyover was meant to resolve the traffic congestion at Kalma Chowk and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, speaking at its inauguration on August 14, praised engineers for finishing it in record time.
But some 50 days later the area is still a nightmare for commuters wishing to turn off Ferozepur Road at Kalma Chowk. Officials said the work on service lanes would take another couple of months to complete, while there is a stay order on the shifting of electricity poles.
According to Communications and Works Department statistics, 396,044 vehicles pass by Kalma Chowk every day, of which 152,375 vehicles use the flyover. That means that 61.52 per cent of the total traffic there is affected by the ongoing work at the service lanes.
Currently, the service lane for traffic heading from Gulberg’s Main Boulevard towards Model Town is the only side road open around the flyover. The other roads are dug up for storm drains. A 10-metre wide road corridor underneath the flyover is open to traffic from Model Town wanting to turn off Ferozepur Road, though road signs indicate that it is meant to be for cars heading towards Model Town from Main Boulevard. There are no traffic lights under the flyover and there are frequent holdups as traffic from Main Boulevard, Garden Town and Model Town converge here. Buses and rickshaws add to the confusion by stopping at congested points to drop off and pick up passengers. Secondary arteries around Kalma Chowk are also choked by extra traffic.
Citizen Khurram Nazeer’s experience of traffic in the area is typical. “I had to come see off my friend at the Daewoo terminal,” he said. “I got stuck in traffic for quite a while and could not find any way to get my car to the terminal as the road was closed. Eventually I had to park my car near a park and walk to the bus terminal.”
Project director Sabir Khan said that the service roads would be built into three-lane roads, though one will be reserved for parking, a particularly pressing problem near the Daewoo terminal. He said they were currently laying storm water drains to resolve the area’s flooding problem during the rains.
“We’re trying to finish the Daewoo service road first as it is the busiest,” he said. He said that two layers of the road would be finished in 48 hours, but it would not be carpeted and completed for another couple of months. He said that the courts had stayed the shifting of electricity poles, but was hopeful the matter would be resolved soon.
Once the service roads are finished, a “proper traffic management plan” will be put in place, he said. The road corridor under the flyover is only open to traffic from Model Town temporarily. It will be reserved for cars heading to Model Town once the work is complete.
Engineers have also started work on a flyover on Ferozepur Road at the Canal and Muslim Town intersections and the chief minister hopes to inaugurate the bridge on March 23.
Khan said that work on side roads there would be finished 45 days after the flyover is opened.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ