RAWALPINDI, March 10: Completion of Chandni Chowk flyover that opened for traffic on Saturday may provide some breathing room to PML-N politicians in Rawalpindi, but it has not offered any relief for the motorists.
Benazir Bhutto Road witnessed severe traffic jams on the very first day of the flyover’s inauguration.
Ironically, the flyover was built to solve the traffic problems but today saw the newly-constructed bridge leading the crowded traffic to a narrow road near Naz Cinema and Sixth Road resulting in bottlenecks on both the sides of the road. Resultantly, the traffic came to a virtual halt on both ends of the flyover.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who inaugurated the project, termed the flyover one of the major uplift schemes in Punjab.
Vehicles that used the new flyover on its first day of being functional, remained stuck on both sides of the road, and many transporters guessed the jam was because the newly-constructed bridge led to narrow portions of Benazir Bhutto Road.
“Naz Cinema and Sixth Road already experienced huge traffic jams and now with the new flyover, the entire traffic would flow directly to the two spots and there would be even more traffic jams,” Mohammad Siddique, a public transport operator told this reporter.
The flyover has been built in 127 days, three days before its stipulated time of 130 days with a cost of Rs1.3 billion.
But civil engineers involved in architecture of the flyover expected the traffic congestion to only worsen on Benazir Bhutto Road because of the unaccounted for narrower segments right after the 403-meter long bridge.
Officials said the chief minister had been informed about the aftermaths of Chandni Chowk flyover advising construction of two similar bridges on Benazir Bhutto Road for ensuring smooth flow of traffic.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, chief minister announced that another flyover would be constructed at Sixth Road.
However, this flyover is a long time away from completion because so far even the initial formalities have not yet been discussed by the authorities concerned.
Executive Engineer Communication and Works (C&W) Department, Farhat Munir, whose office was the executing agency for Chandni Chowk flyover, told Dawn that simply one or two flyovers on Benazir Bhutto Road would not ensure comfortable flow of vehicular movement.
Earlier, while addressing the people who came to attend inaugural ceremony of Chandni Chowk flyover, Shahbaz Sharif said both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were playing with Supreme Court as the incumbent rulers would never write the letter to Swiss authorities.