LAHORE, Dec 18: The quarters concerned of the Punjab government closed Kalma Chowk for traffic on Tuesday night to start construction of two underpasses and Metro Bus pathway.

As around 1.5 million vehicles use this intersection daily, motorists who are already in trouble these days because of ongoing construction of the Metro Bus System project will have to suffer for the next 20-days (Dec 19 to Jan 9) because of construction work at this intersection.

Though the City Traffic Police and TEPA have issued a traffic diversion plan, the decision will result in traffic congestion on Canal Road, Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, Qaddafi Stadium Road, Zahoor Elahi Road, The Mall and Jail Road.

“No traffic will enter this major intersection from Dec 19 to Jan 9 because of construction of the underpasses and a small stretch of the dedicated corridor for the Metro Bus,” MPA Dr Saeed Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said at a press conference at the Kalma Chowk construction site on Tuesday afternoon.

Flanked by Lahore Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik, Chief Traffic Officer Sohail Chaudhry and Project Directors Khalid Alvi and Sabir Khan Sidozai, Elahi said the intersection was closed to complete the seven-lane dual underpass project till Jan 31.

Elahi said the project would cost the government Rs1.75 billion. He dispelled the impression that the Metro Bus project would cost the government Rs70 to 80 billion and said that actual cost of the project was Rs29.80 billion. He said the Metro Bus track from Gajjumata to Kalma Chowk was likely to be opened on Dec 25.

Commissioner Malik said that Rs558 million had been paid to people whose land was acquired for the road project. “We are going to set up a one-window cell at Town Hall to dispose of remaining cases of compensation,” he said.

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