LAHORE: The government is striving to end traffic jams at three junctions along the Metro Bus Service route by June, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Construction work on the signal-free corridor at Chungi Amar Sidhu and Qainchi (on Ferozepur Road) had started on January 27 and at Azadi Chowk (on Ravi Road) on January 15. The Rs10 billion project includes construction of six elevated u-turns and two elevated roundabouts. Traffic diversions on all three sites have been causing gridlocks.
The elevated roundabout at Azadi Chowk is to be completed in four months at an overall cost of four billion rupees, including around Rs2.8 billion for construction and the rest for shifting of services and land acquisition. The accumulated cost of the elevated structures at Chungi Amar Sidhu and Qainchi is Rs3.657 billion. Roadside services and land acquisition push the cost to Rs5.89 billion.
Construction at Chungi Amar Sidhu includes four elevated u-turns and one motorcycles-only elevated roundabout. Two elevated u-turns, called the Kamahaan u-turns, would be built in front of the grid station and the other two in front of General Hospital’s Gate 1. The ground level traffic signal and access at the Ghazi Road-Chungi Amar Sidhu intersection would be closed for traffic. Six ramps to the elevated structures would provide access to all vehicles and pedestrians.
Mazhar Hussain, the road construction director at TEPA (Traffic Engineering & Transport Planning Agency), who is the project director for the Chungi Amar Sidhu section, said that work on the project would be completed by the first week of June. He said it could have been completed earlier had it not been for impediments such as shifting the electricity pylons and water and sewerage lines.
At the signal at Qainchi, two elevated u-turns are to be constructed, one for the traffic going from Walton to Ferozepur Road (towards Model Town). This bridge was completed in 72 days and inaugurated by the Punjab chief minister on April 20. Another u-turn at Qainchi would serve the traffic going towards Kamahaan. Not only would it work as an elevated u-turn but also have a down-ramp on Walton Road for the traffic proceeding from Kamahaan towards Walton.
TEPA’s Additional Chief Engineer Khalid Alvi said that the main work would be complete by May 20, however final touches might continue until the end of May. He said that although the project had officially commenced on January 27, work on the ground had started on February 7 after the documentation was completed.
An elevated roundabout at Azadi Chowk would have three up- and three down-ramps. Five of the six ramps will have three lanes and one would have two. Two up- and two down-ramps are on Ravi Road and the rest on Ahmad Ali Road. An assistant director, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said that the Azadi Chowk project would be complete by the last week of May or in the beginning of June. “The work is on schedule,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2014.