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Misleading lane markings on Kashmir Highway endanger motorists

Updated July 23, 2019

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The marking on the left side of the five-lane Kashmir Highway as seen in the picture is reserved for fast driving. However, the lane has been narrowed after construction of the metro bus track. New lane marking is needed to prevent accidents. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
The marking on the left side of the five-lane Kashmir Highway as seen in the picture is reserved for fast driving. However, the lane has been narrowed after construction of the metro bus track. New lane marking is needed to prevent accidents. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: Misleading lane markings on parts of Kashmir Highway, one of the capital’s busiest roads that sees thousands of vehicles travel on it every day, have effectively narrowed down the fast lane.

Motorists have noticed problems at various points of the five-lane highway from Zero Point to Golra Mor, where the fast lane has been squeezed. In the G-12 area, the fast lane is just two or three feet wide, leading speeding vehicles to merge suddenly into the neighbouring lane and posing a high risk of traffic accidents.

Sources in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said motorists have filed complaints regarding the lane markings on the citizens’ portal, while the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) have also expressed concern.

The CDA, which is the custodian of the highway and responsible for lane markings, has passed the buck on to the National Highway Authority (NHA), arguing that the NHA disordered lane markings on portions of the highway while constructing the metro bus track from Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport.

The fast lane narrows to a couple of feet at various points on the highway, leading drivers to merge onto neighbouring lanes unexpectedly

The authority has said the problem is particularly apparent in areas where the NHA has built underground bus stations.

“I was heading to the new airport. I was in the fast lane, when the fast lane narrowed and I suddenly had to merge onto another lane in a very risky way. I was lucky to escape an accident,” said Mohammad Ali, a citizen whose experience brought Dawn’s attention to the issue.

During a visit, Dawn noticed that the fast lane narrows at a few points on the highway. When contacted, CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed that lane markings on the road have been disordered.

He said some portions of the fast lane have been narrowed by the metro bus track.

“The NHA disordered our lane markings during the construction of the metro track. We have taken up this issue with them,” he said, adding that the CDA also recently wrote to the NHA asking it to fix the markings.

He added that some citizens also complained on the citizens’ portal and said: “We are aware of this issue. We will get it resolved soon.”

Lane markings on other roads will also be carried out anew in the coming days, he said.

The signboard fixed along Kashmir Highway indicates the lanes on which vehicles need to ply. — White Star
The signboard fixed along Kashmir Highway indicates the lanes on which vehicles need to ply. — White Star

But NHA member retired Capt Mushtaq Ahmed told Dawn the NHA had nothing to do with Kashmir Highway, which is owned by the CDA.

“We only constructed the metro bus track. Kashmir Highway belongs to the CDA and they are supposed to do lane marking on their road,” he said.

When asked about the CDA’s letter, he said: “I have no idea of the letter in question. The CDA should share a copy of the letter, then we will respond.”

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2019