Lahore is famous for its road infrastructure – but not everything is flawless
ahore, one of the most developed metropolitan cities in the country also has small earthen structures connected by tiny trails. According to documented history, Akbar the Great made Lahore the capital of his empire and provided paved ways and bricked roads. The colonial English rulers added a sprawling road infrastructure to facilitate connectivity.
After independence, between 1951 and 1965, the population of the city increased twofold, along with several other cities of the country. The city continued to grow and by 1998 was a metropolis. It started gaining attention for its road infrastructure in the late 1990s. Long stretches of carpeted roads, underpasses, bridges and flyovers, coupled with a series of interchanges, connecting nearby localities truly make Lahore a commutable city for its inhabitants. The metro train and mass transit bus tracks have added to the convenience, providing affordable transportation to people on a mass scale.
The road infrastructure has been an integrated part of the Lahore metropolitan area’s master plan, addressing issues specifically related to public transport. Under Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Act 1975 and LDA Master Plan Rules 2014, the LDA has been responsible for preparing and executing a master plan for the city along with other development partners, devising and planning policies to accommodate a balanced growth within Lahore district in the future.
The vision of transforming Lahore into a World Class City through efficient public service delivery has been the guiding principle for the top management. The mission of providing quality public services through socio-economic programmes, urban development and efficient mobility while preserving the cultural and heritage dynamics of Lahore is to be followed in letter and spirit for establishing smooth connectivity within the city. A sound road infrastructure and integrated traffic management systems are the need of the hour.
The LDA is responsible for the planning, development and preparation of such infrastructure to facilitate the inhabitants of one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Lahore remains an educational, political and cultural hub in the region.
The underpass on Jail Road is deep and narrow. It causes frequent logjams on a highly plied roadway. This tapered underpass continues to be a headache for commuters on daily basis.
The underpasses on Canal Bank Road include the ones at Doctors’ Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, PU New Campus, Muslim Town, Ferozepur Road, FC College, Jail Road, The Mall, Dharampura, Mughalpura and Harbanspura. All of these have been built with great care with the exception of the one on Jail Road, which is deep, narrow and has a poor alignment. This caused frequent logjams on a highly plied roadway.
In addition to the familiar Jail Road underpass, the newly built underpass on Ferozpur Road near Ghulab Devi Hospital has also become a nuisance on account of its poor design. Traffic jams are now a common sight close to two major health facilities. Construction of the underpass has resulted in more problems instead of improving the traffic flow.
The traffic bottleneck at the service road leading to the newly built Gulab Devi Underpass is an unwarranted hurdle for patients being transported to the nearby Chest Hospital and the Children’s Hospital. It also inconveniences commuters living in or visiting the nearby localities.
The newly constructed underpass has resulted in the narrowing of a service road along the left side of the underpass, restricting passage to the main gates of Gulab Devi Hospital and Children’s Hospital. Even the deployment of half a dozen traffic wardens has not eased the traffic at this intersection.
The 30-foot service road becomes a 20ft one on the stretch from the traffic signal towards the head of the underpass along Ali Institute.
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Randhawa, the newly appointed LDA director general, says that the service road was converted into a main road after the construction of the underpass. He says the original design and estimate had a provision for two lanes. He adds that the traffic volume does not justify the construction of three lanes at this point. The third lane, he says, has been added to accommodate the proposed Central Business District (CBD)/ Walton area.
He assures TNS that the problem will be resolved permanently after taking a count of the vehicles using the facility. Meanwhile, work is already in progress on a flyover that will likely help.
Mian Mahmood-ur Rasheed, the former minister for housing and urban development, was not available for his comments.
The writer is a senior reporter at The News