KARACHI, Aug 17: Heavy rains across the metropolis on Thursday led to the total collapse of road transport network as hundreds of vehicles on all main thoroughfares and link roads remained trapped in traffic jams for hours.
A large number of the stranded vehicles had to stay unmoved as many others ahead had got their wheels in the trench-like ditches lying unfilled after the city government dug up roads but did not carry out the patch up work properly.
The Thursday rain exposed not only the performance of all contractors involved in the uplift work, but also the hollow claims made by the city government, as well as the efficiency of the traffic police which miserably failed to regulate vehicular movement.
Due to the hours-long traffic jams men, women and children remained stuck in the deluge of traffic looking around helplessly for help. Many vehicles ran short of fuel and their occupants had no option open, but to abandon their vehicles and wade through the deep water to reach their destinations.
Those who had left their offices in the evening were also stuck up at their work places. Most of them could reach their homes after midnight after experiencing some of the worst ever traffic jams on vital thoroughfares. The situation of traffic jam aggravated when irresponsible drivers of various vehicles resorted to adopting wrong way in their bid to escape the jam first. Resultantly, the traffic chaos lengthened the jam and gripped more roads.
Public transport almost disappeared following the rain as a large number of vehicles of the regular fleets had gone out of order. A transporter said that he could not take risk in such a situation as the inundated roads in the entire city did not allow vehicles to move on freely.
The situation in the downtown areas was even worse. A portion of Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road has already been closed for public transport.
The diversion of traffic flow to other roads due to the closure ultimately shifted the pressure on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Club Road and Maulvi Tameezuddin Khan Road and caused jams on Club Road, Metropole roundabout, Sharea Faisal, Abdullah Haroon Road, Fatima Jinnah Road, Zaibunnisa Street, Deen Mohammad Wafai Road, Aiwan-i-Saddar Road, etc.
A motorist Kamal Hameed told Dawn that his car was trapped in the deluge of traffic while he was heading towards Metropole. He said that he covered the short distance from Metropole to PIDC traffic signal in more than 90 minutes.
One of the main arteries, Sharea Faisal, was completely choked right from Metropole up to the airport turning as the thoroughfare got submerged at various sections and its tracks were blocked at many points by broken down vehicles. Due to the accumulation of knee-deep water on the main artery, vehicular movement would come to a grinding halt intermittently.
Traffic police personnel deputed at most of the places had disappeared amid the jam which led to the virtual collapse of the transport network. At some points, policemen were seen trying to regulate the traffic but they appeared helpless as the torrential rains had flooded roads.
Khalid calling from Sharea Faisal near Karsaz turning said that he covered the distance from PAF Faisal base to Karsaz traffic signal on this road in one hour, though the distance could be covered in normal conditions in less than three minutes. He said that his car had been trapped in accumulated water near Drigh Road but the Rangers’ personnel around came to his rescue and helped him push the car out of the knee-deep water. He said: “I saw many people and families walking along the road after abandoning their vehicles at the place they broke down.”
Exhausting traffic jams on I. I. Chundrigar Road and M. A. Jinnah Road, the two busiest commercial roads of the city, were experienced by commuters as both the arteries were submerged at their different sections. Scores of motorcycles, cars and other small vehicles were seen standing in a haphazard manner all the way, according to a commuter.
Flooding at Numaish and Guru Mandir intersections occurred as there was no arrangement to drain out the rainwater. Due to the flooded roads, many vehicles broke down causing traffic jam for hours. The jam also affected traffic flow in the adjoining localities, including Soldier Bazaar, Business Recorder Road, Shahrah-i-Quaideen, Jehangir Road and Jamshed Road where long queues of vehicles were seen struggling to get out of the clogging.
Shakeel, a motorcyclist said that he covered the distance from Ayesha Manzil to Teen Hatti with his broken down motorcycle wading through the knee-deep water.