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November 7, 2018
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Incomplete projects cause traffic jams, health hazards

Lahore

November 7, 2018

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LAHORE : Transition of power from Pakistan Muslim League (N) to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has seriously affected more than a dozen mega ongoing projects in the provincial capital as the incomplete structures are causing hardships for the citizens in shape of traffic jams and environmental degradation.

The important ongoing mega projects included construction of a flyover and a road junction outside Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital, rehabilitation of Khayaban-e-Jinnah, rehabilitation of Khayaban-e-Firdosi into a signal-free corridor, rehabilitation of Maulana Shaukat Ali Road into a signal-free corridor, rehabilitation of Noor Jehan Road, restructuring/remodeling of all underpasses on Canal Bank Road, and remodeling/restructuring of Aik Moria Pul, construction of sports stadium, construction of ride and shop complex and etc.

It is pertinent to mention here that the project of Noor Jehan Road starting from Liberty Chowk and ending at Hussain Chowk has been completed but so far the contractors of the project were running from pillar to post to get their bills cleared in the office of Lahore Development Authority (LDA). This project included construction of dual road of 1 kilometer and was completed at the cost of Rs150 million.

Recently, the top management of LDA opened for traffic the incomplete flyover outside Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital whereas the construction work on the road junction just under the bridge is still pending and closed for traffic. Citizens have to spend hours to cross the road because of diversion and the spot witnessed hour-long traffic jams on daily basis especially at peak hours.

This project was started at an estimated cost of Rs903 million and was funded by the Punjab government. So far, 85 percent construction work on this project has been completed and sources said the LDA Director General Amna Imran Khan opened the flyover for traffic on the directions of the chief minister.

Next to the flyover, the incomplete project of rehabilitation of Khayaban-e-Jinnah connecting SKMH Chowk to Raiwind Road was also causing serious trouble to the citizens. The 5.5 kilometer long road was dug up at various points while diversions were installed to control traffic. Sources said almost 60 percent work on the project was done.

LDA was commencing this project with its own resources and its estimated cost was Rs460 million. As per the project details, the road was being reconstructed and remodelled into a signal-free corridor. The project was started in May 2018 and has to be completed in a three months period. Officials said the funds for this project would be made available once LDA passed its budget for the year 2018-19.

Another mega project, rehabilitation of Khayaban-e-Firdosi starting from Shauq Chowk, Johar Town till flyover of Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital is yet to be started. The estimated cost of this project was Rs300 million and LDA has to complete this project from its own resources. Under this project, the road was to be remodelled as a signal-free corridor.

Maulana Shaukat Ali Road also witnessing traffic jams on daily basis especially at the crossing next to Jinnah Hospital and one major reason is that the travellers coming from Allama Iqbal Town or from Canal Bank Road and intend to go to Johar Town use a U-turn, which is some yards away from the main crossing.

As per the approved project, this 8 kilometer road starting from Canal Bank Road and ending at Railway Crossing at Peco Road has to be remodelled as a signal-free corridor. Several people use to make a U-Turn from the Jinnah Hospital crossing because of a missing sign of U-Turn before the crossing. Similarly this road also lacks U-Turn signs on several other crossings due to which people faced inconvenience while at some places accidents have become a routine because of these missing signs.

The previous government had also planned construction of three pedestrian bridges on Jail Road Signal-Free Corridor at an estimated cost of Rs120 million but the project is still pending and causing trouble to the citizens especially outside the Services Hospital where people have to cross the road to reach medical stores across the road.

Reconstruction and remodelling of Aik Moria Pul in the heart of the city is also one of the priority projects of the previous government, which was placed on haled after it was 10 percent completed. The project was designed to reduce traffic load on Grand Trunk Road, Landa Bazaar, Railway Station and Circular Road. After completion, the project will ease flow of traffic coming from Circular Road, Akbari Mandi, Badami Bagh, Shad Bagh, Faiz Bagh, Walled City etc towards Railway Station and vice versa.

The existing Aik Moria Pul is one of the main bottlenecks in Lahore, providing access to major business hubs like Akbari Mandi, Badami Bagh, Anarkali, Misri Shah, Shad Bagh, educational institutes ie UET, Government Islamia College, Punjab University, King Edward Medical University etc and historical places Masjid Wazir Khan, Delhi Gate, Shahi Hammam, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Greater Iqbal Park and etc.

Circular Road, adjacent to Aik Moria Pul is a highly congested area. The traffic coming from surrounding commercial and residential areas i.e. Badami Bagh, Shad Bagh, Delhi Darwaza, Akbari Mandi, Lorry Adda, and Railway Station, Walled City, converge near Aik Moria Pul, resulting in serious traffic congestion.

Moreover, slow moving and overloaded animal-driven carts and tongas coming from Akbari Mandi, Delhi Darwaza and Badami Bagh result in chaotic situation. Strict traffic enforcement should be taken up by the agencies concerned.

The existing underpass/subway is also facing serious drainage issues especially during rainy season because of the lower existing surface level as compared to adjacent Circular Road and GT Road. So, drainage will also be catered for in the project, LDA officials concluded. The peculiarity of the area and goods transportation through light commercial vehicles with special carrier arrangements compels to adopt the original clearance of Aik Moria Railway Underpass.

Last but not least, all the underpasses on Canal Bank Road need immediate remodelling and upgradation as most of them lacks road safety signs and absence of large iron cross bows used to block entry of heavy traffic are missing and resulting in accidents on daily basis.

When contacted, LDA Chief Engineer Mazhar Khan said that the government has assured provision of funds for its projects while funds for LDA owned projects will be available once the authority passes its own budget for the year 2018-19. Talking about the grievances of contractors regarding delay in payments, he said this was a routine issue and will be resolved very soon.

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