The underpass is the last one along the canal in the northern part of the city.
Israr Saeed, the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) director, told The Express Tribune that construction of the underpass is likely to begin in July. He said that the chief minister wanted its construction to begin soon.
The underpass, called Chawbucha Underpass, will be 1.3 kilometres (km) long and have three lanes on each side. It will be built under the Chawbucha railway crossing. One of the railway lines here leads to India and the other is used for shunting purposes.
Saeed said that a feasibility report had already been completed by the National Engineering Services (NESPAK). The Chawbucha crossing is closed several times a day, causing huge traffic jams. Once the project is successfully completed, the LDA say, one will be able to drive from one end of the canal to another without a major hurdle. The cost of the project has been estimated at Rs1.7 billion. Out of this Rs0.4 billion will be used to acquire land and Rs1.3 billion for construction purposes. LDA will acquire the 40 kanals land for the underpass from the Pakistan Railways, the Irrigation Department, WAPDA and some residents along a shrine next to one of the railway crossings.
Besides the 40 kanals of land, the LDA will also require a 50-foot corridor along the 1.3 km road on one side to add width to the road. Presently, the road is about 30-40 feet wide. The other side of the road has sufficient width in green belts. An LDA official said that funds for the project will be generated by the LDA through commercialisation fees. However, the LDA has requested the chief minister to provide the funds initially. The chief minister’s response to the request is expected next week, he said.
Saeed said that negotiations with the departments for land acquisition have already started. He said the project is expected to be completed by next year.
Saeed said that after the project is completed, the only bottleneck left on the route will be Lal Pul near Mughalpura.
The LDA is planning to widen the road at the point to ease traffic flow, he added.
“The name of the underpass might be changed,” he said. Saeed hoped that work on the Canal Road widening project would also begin soon, once the Supreme Court cleared the way.
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