The government is planning to build bridges at four junctions in order to seal off the intersections on the Metro Bus route, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (Tepa) has prepared the preliminary designs for the bridges and a PC-1 for the project is being prepared.
The plan is to be presented to the provincial government for approval next week, said Tepa Chief Engineer Saeed Akhtar.
Tepa officials had earlier been planning to build bridges only on two intersections Azadi Chowk and Chungi Amar Sidhu. Now the plan has been extended to four intersections, where general traffic has been holding up the Metro Buses.
The bridges to be built at the four intersections will vary in design. The Tepa chief engineer said he could not say how much the project would cost, but other officials estimated it would be around Rs7 billion.
The design for Azadi Chowk remains the same as earlier, to build two U-turns for traffic on both sides of the road. At Ghazi Chowk and at Chungi Amar Sidhu, engineers would build X-shaped bridges with four ramps each, allowing traffic on both sides to take U-turns, according to the preliminary designs.
The bridge at Ghazi Chowk would be near the Lahore General Hospital gate. The sealing off of the intersection there with the construction of the Metro Bus route has added an extra kilometre to the journey for ambulances and other vehicles heading to the hospital from the other side of Ferozepur Road. The bridge at Chungi Amr Sidhu would be near the Wapda Sport Complex.
The most complex design would be for the bridges at Qainchi Chowk, where Ferozepur Road intersects with Walton Road. One bridge would cater to vehicles coming from Defence and intending to turn towards Model Town, while a U-turn bridge would be built for vehicles coming from Kasur wishing to head back in the same direction. This bridge would have an additional ramp heading to Walton Road for vehicles coming from Kasur intending to travel towards Defence.
Tepa officials said that the bridges at Chungi Amar Sidhu, Ghazi Chowk and Qainchi Chowk would cost around Rs5 billion, while the bridges at Azadi Chowk would cost around Rs2 billion. Apart from construction, the money would be needed for land acquisition and moving roadside services such as electricity poles.
The government had earlier hoped that installing smart traffic signals which can detect traffic load and change colour accordingly would suffice to ensure that Metro Buses are not held up at intersections where general vehicles can cross the bus corridor. The plans to build bridges at the intersections suggest that they did not suffice.
Akhtar, the Tepa chief engineer, said that the signals were working properly, but the traffic load at the junctions was higher than anticipated. “Also, many people don’t follow the signals, which leads to problems on the bus route,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.
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