By Jamaluddin Jamali
LAHORE: The “big brains” behind the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) have yet again made major changes in the drawings of the mega-project by deciding to construct an elevated highway from Muslim Town to Qurtaba Chowk (Mozang Chungi) while originally they had planned a bus corridor for this patch of Ferozepur Road, starting from Youhanaabad, Daily Times has learnt.
“In the first design, the elevated portion was to be from Mozang Chungi to MAO College, then it was extended from Mozang to Bhaati Chowk and now, after realising the problems that would be caused by the corridor bus system in the congested area, the length of the elevated portion has been increased by 9 km, which will now start from Rehmanpura-Muslim Town flyover,” an official linked to the project revealed to Daily Times.
“Though this change would increase the cost of BRTS, it would remove reservations with regards to signal-crossing problems on Ferozepur Road, which was previously being considered a big obstacle in the corridor bus passage since it was bound to create congestion on the side roads, blocking traffic and hampering the bus service’s speed as well,” the official explained.
About the route of the rapid bus, the officials said the total road length of the BRTS project was 32 km, from Youhanaabad Ferozepur Road to Shahdara.
He elaborated that after the newly-made changes, the traffic on side roads will now be able to move under the elevated road smoothly. Also, there would be no need to demolish shops and plaza, he said, adding that this was good news for the business community along the Ferozepur Road that had hitherto been annoyed with the Punjab chief minister for destroying their business in the name of BRTS.
“The bus will travel in a corridor built at ground level from Youhanabad to Rehmanpura; from Rehmanpura to Bhaati Chowk it would travel in a corridor built 5.1 metre higher from ground level; the bus will descend to ground level at Bhaati Chowk from where it will travel up to Shahdara terminal in a corridor,” the official explained.
The engineers from Turkey and NESPAK, who have been supervising the construction work on BRTS corridor and bus terminals, had previously been unsatisfied with the corridor bus route on Ferozepur Road. They were of the view that the corridor system would be successful either underground or on elevated position where or at such a place where signal crossings would not interrupt it, the official said, adding that chances were that by the completion of the project, the bus corridor may be transformed into an elevated road throughout the length of Ferozepur Road.
BRTS Elevated Road Incharge Majid Raheed told Daily Times that the elevated road, which will be 5.1 metres higher than ground level, will pass over Lytton Road, Jain Mandir, MAO College, and Lower Mall, ending at Bhaati Chowk. The side roads’ traffic will travel under the elevated highway without interruption. Raheed informed that the elevated highway would be 10-metre-wide and built on gigantic pillars.
About the decision of extending the elevated highway, Raheed said there were plazas, concrete structures, and shops built along the whole length of the Ferozepur Road and procurement of land could have turned into a messy affair for the government, hence, it was decided that instead of troubling the citizens, the highway would be extended despite the additional cost it would impose.