KARACHI: In order to ease traffic congestion in Karachi, the city administration has sought two directives from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — one is to allow movement of heavy vehicles on the Lyari Expressway and the other one is speeding up the stalled development work on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Green Line extension project on M.A. Jinnah Road.

Currently the movement of heavy traffic on the expressway isn’t allowed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) which insists that the specially-designed infrastructure is only meant for cars and light transport vehicles.

On the other hand, M.A. Jinnah Road from the Numaish intersection to the Municipal Park at Jama Cloth Market is in terrible condition because of incomplete development work on the Green Line project.

In a letter addressed to the PM, Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab stated that a consultant in a recent engagement with the city authorities had ‘confirmed’ that the Lyari Expressway could be used by ‘heavy traffic’.

Mayor approaches Shehbaz with proposals to ease traffic congestion on Karachi roads

“Lyari Expressway has the potential to mitigate the traffic congestion issues from the port. However, due to heavy traffic not being allowed on the expressway, the entire traffic from the port goes through different roads of the city resultantly causing traffic congestion in different portions of the city and at times people are stuck in traffic for hours,” the mayor’s letter said.

“My office has engaged with the consultant of the project, who has confirmed that Lyari Expressway was constructed to cater the needs of heavy traffic. Therefore, its underutilisation needs to be addressed at the earliest,” he stated.

The mayor also said that delayed work on Green Line was badly affecting the smooth flow of traffic on M. A. Jinnah Road.

“Unfortunately, due to the construction of Green Line Bus Service, the portion from the Numaish intersection to Municipal Park Jama Cloth Market is in terrible condition. The said work was being executed by Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited and its incomplete nature is greatly affecting the commute of millions,” he said.

In June 2023, the Sindh government had announced a plan to launch the Peoples Bus Service on the Lyari Expressway. However, the federal government and NHA argued that the 16.5-kilometre-long infrastructure was ‘not meant’ for public transport operations and such an initiative would increase ‘risks’ for vehicles and ‘adversely affect’ the expressway.

The mayor has also sought the prime minister’s intervention to address the problem of traffic congestion in Karachi.

“It is historically evident that your personal interest and able leadership towards development work has transformed the city of Lahore in particular and Pakistan in general,” he said, adding: “It is my humble request to take up the matters with the concerned agencies under your leadership and guidance so that the pressing issues of traffic congestion of city of Karachi are resolved.”

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2024

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