LAHORE: The construction of the Lahore bridge (Qainchi intersection, Ferozpur Road) expansion project is likely to be completed by end of next month, as around 75 per cent of work has been done.

The project lingered on owing to delay in issuance of NOC from Pakistan Railways, shifting of utility services and other technical issues, it is learnt.

“I don’t think the project will complete by end of the ongoing month. However, I can say that we will complete and open this to traffic by September-end subject to having an impediment-free environment,” Project Director Mobeen Asghar said while talking to Dawn on Monday.

The Lahore bridge expansion is a part of the Rs1.711 billion Gulab Devi underpass project. The underpass was opened to traffic a couple of months ago while work on the bridge expansion couldn’t pick momentum due to delay in NOC from the Pakistan Railways that was supposed to allow the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to carry out piling, girder launching while crossing over the railway lines at the intersection.

Project will ease traffic flow from Kalma Chowk to Gajjumata

The need for Lahore bridge emerged after the LDA in a survey, prior to launch of the project, came to know that the traffic heading towards Gajjumata and Kasur from Kalma Chowk stuck at the existing Lahore bridge due to low width of the road (two lanes). However, there is no issue with traffic proceeding towards Kalma chowk from Gajjumata and Kasur while passing this spot as this side of the bridge has a three-lane road stretch.

“Keeping in view this, we decided to expand the bridge (the two-lane side heading towards Gajjumata, Kasur) by construction another two-lane flyover along with the existing one with a space of one meter. And finally we launched the construction work side by side the work on the Gulab Devi underpass,” Mr Asghar explained.

He said work related to the addition of a two-lane overhead bridge along with the existing one remained slow because of the NOC issue. Meanwhile, the project team was also not allowed to get the construction carried out on a regular basis due to non-observance of power shutdown in a bid to avert possibility of electrocution-related incidents, shifting of poles, wires, cables due to various reasons - Ramazan, Eid, Muharram and hot weather.

“The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) is yet to shift a heavy tower of 132kV transmission line. Moreover, the shifting of Sui gas-related services are also to be done,” he said, adding that the curing of pilings, girders also takes time.

“Hopefully, we will be able to complete this portion of the project by end of next month, as there is no hurdle at the moment,” he said.

Asghar said with the addition of two more lanes, the issues related to traffic congestion at this point would come to an end.

LDA’s newly-appointed DG Aamir Ahmad Khan also inspected the project a couple of days back. During the visit, he was briefed by LDA Chief Engineer (II) Mazhar Hussain Khan about the pace of work, delay, future strategy for completion of the project.

The DG directed the chief engineer, project director and others concerned to accelerate construction work and complete the project at the earliest.

It merits mentioning that the LDA also faced issues related to shifting of electricity, gas services, non-observance of shutdowns, land acquisition while implementing the Shahkam Chowk flyover that was finally opened to traffic on July 8.

The Rs4.233bn Shahkam Chowk flyover project had been launched on-time in July last year. However, the land acquisition (64 kanal) was delayed for some time due to procedural issues.

According to official sources, the Rs4.3bn Saggian Road Rehabilitation Project would also be completed soon as the work is under way these days.

In May, the newly-constructed Rs5bn Sheranwala Gate flyover project had also been opened to traffic, easing mobility of the people crossing the area to reach Ravi Road. However, some at-grade works including the allied ones - construction of a road with protected U-turns, slip roads, concrete pavement, shifting of utility services were completed later.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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