The planners of the metro bus project, it seems, are listening. The Punjab government, taking note of the criticism by political opponents, decided not to repeat the ‘mistakes’ made in the Lahore metro bus project.
Chaudhry Pervaiz Illahi’s quip of ‘jangla bus service’, Imran Khan’s recent critique of the project being unfuturistic and Sheikh Rasheed’s plea in favour of Leh Expressway have been taken seriously.
There is no fence this time along major part of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service (MBS) route, Leh Expressway has a go-ahead and there is a provision of transit train service in the existing plan, according to a top official managing the project.
“In the past critics would term the metro bus as jangla bus service which is why this time 20-inch median will replace the fences,” said Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed during a media briefing on Friday.
The road will be designed in such a way that when the passenger load increases in future, the road can be used for transit train service for which no redesigning will be required, he informed.
The project that will be inaugurated on Sunday in Rawalpindi will cater to an estimated 153,000 passengers daily. Initially 60 buses will ferry passengers. Each bus will leave the station after every two minutes, according to Saeed.
The commissioner informed that cost of the project increased by Rs6.75 billion due to addition of an interchange at the Peshawar Morr to ensure signal free traffic.
“Earlier we planned to construct an underpass at Peshawar Morr but the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said it will disturb the master plan.”
Commissioner Saeed said the federal government will pay Rs4.94 billion while the remaining Rs1.81 billion will come from the project to finance the interchange.
Giving details of the project, he said a new and wider bridge on Leh Nullah near Mareer Bridge will be constructed by demolishing the old one. There will be a distance of 30 meters between each pillar to be constructed in middle of the road.
“However, near the Committee Chowk underpass the size of the pillars will be reduced from 1.4 to one meter and distance also to 15 meters,” the commissioner said.
The elevated bridge will turn right near Chandni Chowk flyover and drift to middle of the road after the Sixth Road.
Underpasses will be constructed for pedestrians for crossing of roads in localities such as Chandni Chowk flyover and Blue Area. Ninth and Seventh avenues and flyover near Centaurus Mall will be widened on both sides.
After every kilometres, there will be a station — 10 in Rawalpindi and 14 in Islamabad.
Talking about a major concern, he said not a single tree will be felled from the green belts.
Special spaces for parking the broken down vehicles also planned along the MBS routes.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ