KARACHI, June 8: The flow of traffic at three busy intersections — Old Exhibition, Gurumandir and Nagan Chowrangi — has improved significantly following the installation of traffic signals and the completion of the roundabouts’ re-modelling work, undertaken at a cost of Rs91 million.
Though the final touches are yet to be given, motorists taking these routes are not being confronted with the kind of chaos which had become the order of the day prior to the improvement and re-modelling of these major intersections.
The other major traffic intersections from where the main causes of traffic blockades have been removed to a great extent are North Nazimabad’s Board Office, Aisha Manzil and Waterpump in Federal B Area which have been signalized after the remodelling of the roundabouts, besides the carrying out of some engineering work.
These projects which were completed by the City government under the Khushhal Pakistan Programme (KPP) have removed the root-causes of the traffic bottlenecks at five major traffic intersections of the city, thereby providing relief to the motorists from the heavy traffic jams which they had been confronting since long.
In the meantime, improvement and signalization work of the Five-Star roundabout in North Nazimabad and remodelling of Banaras Chowk, which is described as the country’s biggest roundabout, are in progress at a cost of Rs 15.3m and Rs37.8m, respectively. The manner in which the engineering work at both the roundabouts are being undertaken, one gets the impression that flow of heavy vehicular traffic would be streamlined and the traffic jams which occur frequently nowadays would come to an end.
One of the salient features of the projects completed or still in progress, is that their tenders were awarded at below their approved costs. The 74-year-old City Nazim, Naimatullah Khan, managed to save an accumulative amount of over Rs37 million after tough bargaining with contractors.
The approved project cost of Banaras Chowk improvement plan was Rs47.052 but its tender cost was only Rs37.827m. Similarly, Gurumandir roundabout’s improvement plan was tendered for Rs36.17m (this amount also include carpeting of adjacent roads) as against its approved cost of Rs 48.057m; Nagan Chowrangi’s tender cost was 39.764m (approved cost Rs45.374) and Old Exhibition plan’s tender cost was 26.988m whereas its approved cost was Rs 39.209m.
OLD EXHIBITION: The Old Exhibition (Purani Numaish) roundabout’s improvement work which included carpeting of roads, covering an area of 345,433 square feet, construction of pavements 42,998 running feet long, and installation of 27 traffic signals. The work started on Sept 27 and was completed on Feb 26 at a cost of Rs39.2m. It was, however, inaugurated by the City Nazim on March 4.
With the completion of the project, the root-cause of traffic bottlenecks at this roundabout from where over 300,000 vehicles pass through daily have been eliminated, thereby providing relief to all the motorists passing through M.A. Jinnah Road as well as those approaching towards the intersection from Sharea Quaideen and Soldier Bazaar areas.
Similarly, the motorists who were fed up with daily traffic jams at Gurumandir from where 310403 vehicles pass during 16 hours have heaved a sigh of relief as almost all the hindrances in the smooth flow of traffic at this spot have been removed, following the replacement of Gurumandir’s huge roundabout and installation of signals at the Business Recorder Road roundabout. The pavements and roads in and around this area have also been upgraded.
According to statistics collated by Dawn, 27848 vehicles pass through Gurumandir intersection during morning peak hours (from 9am to 10am) and about 22000 vehicles pass through the intersection during evening peak hours, that is from 5pm to 8pm.
One of the salient features of the Gurumandir roundabout’s improvement and remodelling project was that by doing so the CDGK had saved over Rs130 million because it preferred to bring improvement at the roundabout through engineering works and by constructing an 80-feet wide road behind KBN market, instead of constructing a flyover at Gurumandir.
The way for constructing the 80-feet wide road behind KBN Market was paved by a former administrator of defunct KMC, Brig (Retd) Abdul Haq, when he got the illegal shops from the site removed.
The Gurumandir roundabout’s improvement project was initially proposed in 1995 by Traffic Engineering Bureau’s director Malik Zaheer-ul-Islam and was also approved by a former governor of Sindh Lt-Gen Moinuddin Haider. Apart from being a low-cost project it did not involve mass dislocation of traffic, but the defunct KMC which was supposed to execute the project kept it lingering on the plea that the resolution of Gurumandir’s traffic problems lay in a flyover despite knowing that such a proposal would cost a huge amount of about Rs150 million. The project would be completed in at least three to four years.
The TEB’s proposal — which envisaged the construction of an 80-feet-wide road behind the KBN market, new geometrical designing of the roads, pavements and traffic bifurcating islands and replacement of both Gurumandir and Business Recorder roundabouts with traffic signals — was however given the green signal by the City Nazim Naimatullah Khan when he was briefed about the project on the project’s site by the then EDO-Traffic and Communications (who is presently D-G Karachi Mass Transit Project).
The work order for the project, costing Rs36.17, was issued in July and so far 90 per work on the project has been completed. As a result of this not only the conflicts among the motorists which used to cause serious problems in the movement of traffic, had been removed but the flow of traffic on adjoining roads such as Jehangir Road, Business Recorder Road, Jamshed Road and Bahadur Yar Jung road, had also been streamlined to a great extent.
An attempt, however, to delay the project was made by the transport and communications department, when it in an official note opposed the TEB’s plan and had expressed his reservations about it, claiming it would not help in making the traffic smoother.
But the decision of both the City Nazim and the-then DCO was that the TEB’s plan be executed at Gurumandir. With the implementation of the TEB’s plan, a considerable improvement has been noticed in the flow of traffic not only at Gurumandir but also on its adjoining roads.
Referring to the development works being carried out by the city government, the sources said work on improvement of other roundabouts such as North Nazimabad’s Five-Star, Nagan Chowrangi, Banaras and Jauhar Morr were going on in full swing and might be completed in a couple of months.
NAGAN CHOWRANGI: Improvement and re-modelling work of Nagan Chowrangi, from where heavy vehicular traffic including up-country-bound trailers pass through, is nearing completion and the motorists who take this route and those who reside in the vicinity of the intersection are of the opinion that the manner in which the intersection is being improved will ease the traffic congestion.
About 80 per cent of the work, costing Rs 39.76 has already been completed while remaining works which include signalisation and beatification plan would be accomplished in a couple of months.
All the three traffic intersections — at Old Exhibition, Gurumandir and Nagan Chowrangi — are likely to be further improved when remaining works which include lane markings, Zebra crossings, colouring of pavements’ curve stones and pedestrian facilities are completed.
FIVE-STAR CHOWRANGI: Improvement of North Nazimabad’s Five-Star Chowrangi that links Sharah-i-Shershah Suri is going on at a fast pace. With the completion of the project, costing Rs15.3m, the flow of traffic is likely to be improved considerably.
BANARAS CHOWK: The Banaras Chowk improvement plan is being implemented since August 2 under the KPP at a cost of Rs46 million. It was conceived keeping in view the traffic requirements of the population of Orangi and Qasba Towns besides Metroville.
The completion of the project has been delayed owing to an old pipeline passing underneath the roundabout. The KWSB officials have expressed their reservation over its replacement on the plea that the pipeline’s dislocation would create serious water crises in different parts of former district West.
However, it has reportedly been agreed not to dislocate the pipeline and expedite the work on the roads from Qasba to SITE and from Metroville to Abdullah College, after raising the height of the roundabout so that the pipeline might not get damaged once heavy traffic starts plying over it.