At least two months worth of traffic jams await commuters from Friday as work on the Kalma Chowk underpasses project began on Thursday.
The government has given a deadline of sixty days for the construction of both the underpasses at Kalma Chowk.
The design has been modified to include a two lane entry to the barrel of the underpass leading towards Liberty Market from Garden Town.
According to the project director, the Barkat Market intersection will be abolished and an additional two lanes u-turn provided over the barrel of the underpass to accommodate the traffic. One of the underpasses will now have four lanes.
Following the changes in design, the cost of the project has increased from around Rs1.11 billion to around Rs 1.5 billion, said Project Director Khalid Alvi.
He said that other than the two underpasses, for Model Town traffic going towards Liberty, traffic from Ferozepur Road will be diverted towards Garden Town’s Main Boulevard using the slip lane. The traffic, he said, will then ply on the bridge over the underpass going towards Garden Town.
The semi circular bridge will enter the barrel of the underpass going towards Liberty Market.
Alvi said that the 400 metres underpass leading towards Garden Town from Gulberg would have three lanes. He added that the underpass leading towards Liberty Market from Garden Town would be around 250 metres long and have four lanes. He said that the additional length of the underpass heading towards Garden Town was meant to accommodate a two lane u-turn and the semi circular bridge to the underpass heading towards Gulberg. Two of the four lanes of the underpass are to accommodate the traffic from two lanes of the bridge entering it.
Alvi said that the u-turn was for traffic coming from Garden Town which would be heading to Barkat Market. He said that two lanes would be used for the u-turn. He said the earlier plan to close Kalma Chowk had been dropped.
Alvi said that the junction will remain operational with the Intelligent Transportation System letting buses through on priority.
He said that the intersection was designed to address many traffic issues. He said that the work would not hamper the Metro Bus Service as underpasses’ slabs will be laid before the MBS project is completed.
Work on the Model Town underpass is expected to take another forty days to complete. Ferozepur Road, Lower Mall and Ravi Road have already been dug up for the Metro Bus Service.
Multan Road is also slated to take another fifty days time to complete. MM Alam Road construction is also underway. Traffic experts believe the next three months will be cumbersome for commuters.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2012.
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