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Growing number of heavy vehicles on Karachi's roads becomes hard to manage

Updated April 22, 2019

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DRIVERS of small vehicles feel unsafe while crisscrossing through the slow moving heavy vehicles at night.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
DRIVERS of small vehicles feel unsafe while crisscrossing through the slow moving heavy vehicles at night.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The number of heavy vehicles plying in the city has crossed the 100,000 mark, making it a serious challenge for the authorities to manage the movement of these vehicles as they pose a serious threat to other motorists, it emerged on Sunday.

A report recently compiled by the municipal authorities regarding traffic situation in the city and number of vehicles moving on Karachi roads suggested how big the challenge was amid growing traffic, limited available space and insufficient number of traffic policemen.

“The report says that the number of heavy vehicles in Karachi right now stands at 107,000,” said a source. “Among them is the highest number of oil tankers which are 65,000 in total and then 13,000 10-wheeler trucks. There are some 10,000 long-haul or 22-wheeler trailers which are seen moving in the city; then there are 8,000 water tankers, 7,000 dumpers and 4,000 six-wheeler trucks.”

The heavy vehicles include around 65,000 oil tankers and 8,000 water tankers

He said that the report mentioned the existing four routes of heavy traffic in Karachi, which caused gridlock at different points.

“The first known route of heavy traffic movement is Superhighway to New Karachi Industrial Area via slip road,” he said, referring to the report. “The second route is National Highway to Godown Chowrangi via Manzil Petrol Pump, Younus Chowrangi, Dawood Chowrangi to 8000 Road near Jam Sadiq bridge. The third route involves Northern Bypass, Paracha Chowk, Estate Avenue, Siemens Chowrangi and back to Gulbai, Mauripur Road, Jinnah Bridge, Karachi Port [East and West Wharf], Mai Kolachi Road up to NLC Intersection and vice versa.”

The final and fourth route, he said, included the KPT Interchange to KPT via Korangi Road, left turn from Boulevard Light Signal to Sunset Boulevard, Signal No 2, Defence Library, Punjab Colony, Submarine Light Signal over KPT Underpass in Clifton, Boat Basin, Mai Kolachi, left turn from M. T. Khan Road and Jinnah Bridge.

He admitted that in all four routes heavy vehicles in the city touched mostly those areas and roads which catered to normal and public traffic posing more threats and causing severe congestions.

“There are no dedicated routes which allow the heavy traffic to cross the city without touching its key roads. So one way or the other, the heavy traffic has to encounter with other vehicles on city roads to reach their destinations,” he said.

The report also identified several spots in the city which witnessed congestion due to the movement of the heavy traffic, but so far there had been no permanent solution to the problem.

“There are six points in the city which witness congestions and jams almost every day due to the movement of the heavy vehicles,” said the source. “These include KPT East Wharf to Jinnah bridge. Then there is a point from Jinnah Bridge to Gulbai via ICI bridge. The traffic also gets stuck on M. T. Khan Road from Habib School to Jinnah bridge. A permanent problem of traffic movement is reported on Sunset Boulevard to Qayyumabad Bridge. Road from West Wharf to ICI Bridge is no exception and same is the case with road from Gulbai to Mauripur Village.”

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019