KARACHI: Hours before the first match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in National Stadium Karachi on Tuesday, the traffic took a turn for the worse around the stadium as diversions due to the blockade of certain roads coupled with the narrowing of University Road because of construction of the Red Line bus rapid transit (BRT) project slowed down the pace of vehicles.
Although the Karachi traffic authorities denied any major problem in traffic movement due to security arrangements for the PSL match, the citizens who travelled around the venue came up with strong reactions mainly on social media.
The main pressure was seen on University Road where traffic flow started to build up near Hassan Square and stretched to New Town.
According to a traffic plan issued by the traffic authorities for PSL matches in Karachi to be played between Feb 14 and 26, no traffic will be allowed to go to Stadium Road from Liaquatabad No10, Hassan Square Bridge.
Similarly, the plan says that traffic will not be allowed to move towards the stadium from University Road’s Expo Centre turning, while traffic will continue to run from Stadium Road to Hassan Square. Entry of all types of heavy traffic will be prohibited from Stadium Signal to Hassan Square. The plan has also been prepared for parking and alternative routes for cricket fans coming to watch the matches at the stadium.
The traffic situation started turning bad after 5pm and by the sunset, it turned worst mainly on University Road.
The alternative routes, including Rashid Minhas Road and Sir Shah Mohammad Sulaiman Road, leading from Liaquatabad to Hasan Square also witnessed the pressure. Later, a traffic mess was witnessed on Teen Hatti, already dug-up Jahangir Road, Nazimabad, Patel Para and Guru Mandir.
A senior doctor and known member of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), went on social media to criticise the situation citing his personal experience on the roads.
“Even the patients of two leading hospitals — Liaquat National Hospital and Agha Khan University Hospital — near the stadium are unable to reach the health facilities,” he said. “The authorities should have considered this before designing the traffic plan. This year it looks worst. It would not be wise to go with the same plan for 10-12 days. It would be disastrous for the city traffic.”
A journalist shared the ordeal of his journey from Kashmir Road to National Stadium saying it took him some 90 minutes to reach the destination amid so many restrictions and too much traffic on the alternative routes.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2023