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Commuters’ nightmare after tanker crash

January 08, 2018

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A goof-up by an oil tanker driver on the campus underpass on Canal Road triggered massive traffic problems on Sunday. — White Star
A goof-up by an oil tanker driver on the campus underpass on Canal Road triggered massive traffic problems on Sunday. — White Star

LAHORE: Traffic remained suspended for more than five hours on Canal Road after an oil tanker got stuck in Waris Mir (Campus) Underpass on Sunday.

The incident took place when the oil tanker of a private company, carrying 50,000 litre petrol, got stuck while trying to use the underpass near the Punjab University.

The tanker driver had ignored the signboard warning about the height limit and tried to pass through the underpass. But the vehicle got stuck. The driver tried to reverse the tanker but failed to do so and it damaged and oil started spilling on the road.

A traffic jam was witnessed on Canal Road as traffic coming from Thokar Niaz Baig went out of the gear, resulting in very long lines of vehicles that extended for miles.

The city district authorities, traffic police and Rescue 1122 officials reached the spot. They managed to divert the traffic to alternate route by blocking an underpass near Jinnah Hospital. However, before they made the move, hundreds of vehicles were already stuck on Canal Road. The blockade of the city’s main artery led to massive traffic jams on connecting roads. The commuters on Canal Road remained stuck for more than five hours.

One of the commuters, Shehzad Rana, said that it was around 11am when the incident happened, asking why the oil tanker was allowed on the busiest road of the city. He said some of the warning signboards about the height limits of the underpasses were not in proper condition and others were installed on the sideways of the roads.

Sher Zaman said he had come from Okara to meet his relatives and had to go back home in the evening as he had to attend office on Monday. “But, the incident disrupted all my plans. Now, I don’t know what to do and what not to do.”

Rashid, a motorcyclist, said it took him 2:25 hours to reach the Campus Underpass from Thokar despite being on a motorcycle.

The police, rescue and city district administration had called tankers to decant the oil tanker and reverse it by deflating its tryes. The traffic police officials also remained busy regulating and diverting the traffic.

Over 200 people were burnt alive after an oil tanker overturned and leaked oil in Ahmedpur Sharqia near Bahawalpur last year.

Many other such incidents involving oil tankers had also occurred in the country in the absence of safety measures and a lack of training of staff dealing with the oil tankers.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018