LAHORE, Sept 6: The Ring Road now being built under the revised plan does not form a ring around the outer periphery of the city. Experts say that half of the Ring Road of the original plan has not been included in the revised one. They say the proposed project is primarily an upgradation of existing urban roads.
According to the original plan prepared by the Lahore Development Authority and the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency in 2000-01, the 78-kilometre Ring Road had to be constructed at a cost of Rs20 billion.
The army, the LDA and Tepa had recommended its alignment in 2002 which was approved by the Punjab governor subsequently, and an allocation of Rs500 million was made for its launch.
Under the project, the road was to start from the Shahpur Interchange on the Multan Road passing through the EME Scheme and Al-Janat Town touching the Eden Canal Villas.
It was to cross the Defence Road at Sattu Katla Junction after passing along the Public Health Scheme, Gulshan-i-Riaz and the Technical College.
It was to run between the Defence Road and Hadiara Drain and cross the Raiwind Road South of Bhooptian Chowk along Hadiara Drain to the Ferozepur Road after crossing it at Halloki.
The Ring Road was to reach the Bedian Road near Khaira distributary after passing along Kamahan village in Ferozepur Road-Jallo Park Section.
It was to reach the Harike Road near Dograi Khurd Village, three-and-a-half kilometre away from the Defence Road crossing. Meeting the GT Road at a distance of another four-and-a-half kilometres from Daroghawala after running between Jallo Park and Tulspura Village, it was to reach the Mahmood Booti dyke after running along Taj Garh, Hando, Lakho Dehr and Shadipura. The original plan also had 17 interchanges, including several flyovers.
However, under the modified plan proposed by the communication and works department, interchange links proposed in the original one like those at Shahpur on the Multan Road, the Defence Road at Sattu Katla junction along the Public Health Scheme, Gulshan-i-Riaz and at the technical college have gone missing.
Besides, the revised plan also rules out the proposed links on the Defence Road, the Hadiara drain, the Raiwind Road, south of Bhooptian Chowk along Hadiara drain and the Ferozepur Road, the Bedian Road near Khaira distributary along Kamahan village in the Ferozepur Road-Jallo park section.
Instead, the proposed Ring Road will enter the city from the Bund Road at Gulshan-i-Ravi, connecting Samanabad, Camp Jail, the Ferozepur Road, Kalma Chowk and Harikey Road, Defence. As many as 13 interchanges and flyovers will be built under the revised plan.
The proposed project entails a total length of 63.5km, and is expected to be completed by 2008.
The first phase of the project covering Niazi Chowk to Saggian Bridge will be completed within a month, opening the portion for traffic immediately.
The dual-carriageway will have six lanes for normal traffic on each side and one for emergency services. It will cost over Rs70 billion.
Experts are of the view that the upgradation of urban roads also raises the question of the justification of the proposed Light Rail Transit project to run between Shahdara and Bhati Chowk and on to the airport terminal after laying a 17-foot high rail track.
They say the prime function of the Ring Road was to ease load on urban roads. But the provincial government modified the plan, arguing it wanted to facilitate the people living in the city rather than those coming into and going out of Lahore.