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Bottleneck: Spare the road

An array of underpasses and overheads may have given Lahore a new face, some of the city roads are still wedged with bad traffic gridlocks — in rush hours and beyond. Shehr launches a series on the major bottlenecks in and around town.

Bottleneck: Spare the road
The situation becomes worse at the hours when the university is off and public buses turn up in large numbers from all corners of the road to collect the students. — Photo by Rahat Dar

The Punjab University New Campus overlooks one of Lahore’s busiest roads that assumes the shape of an ugly bottleneck as it reaches right above the Waris Mir Underpass.

This part of the road — or bridge, if you like — is as congested as it gets. If you happen to be there, all you can see is a mess of all sorts of traffic, with buses (usually those of the varsity) and lighter vehicles honking restlessly while jostling for space.

Indeed, this is also one of the many bottlenecks around the city that is manned by a few, seemingly helpless, traffic wardens regardless of the automatic signals.

Most of the people who happen to pass through this traffic juncture are usually on their way to or back from the PU or the nearby Sheikh Zayed Hospital. It is believed that some of them may be traders who live in the posh colonies and have their businesses close by.

In short, thousands of vehicles ply on the University Rd which also links Allama Iqbal Town, Multan Road and allied areas on the one side and Barkat Market, Faisal Town, Kalma Chowk and other commercial areas such as Liberty, Hafeez Centre and Main Boulevard on the other side.

Yet, on another side, the University Rd meets the Mall via Ferozpur Road and Jail Road.

In recent past, the road coming down from Kalma Chowk was widened up till Barkat Market and from Bhaikewal Chowk onwards. But the area between these two points that has the PU campus on the one end and Sheikh Zayed Hospital and the University of Health Sciences on the other remains congested.

The construction of an overhead bridge at Shah Di Khui has only added to the misery of the commuters by burdening the campus bridge point. The situation becomes worse at the hours when the university is off and public buses turn up in large numbers from all corners of the road to collect the students.

“The signal time here is 5 minutes which usually divides into one-and-half minutes for each cross road,” says Muhammad Zahid, a traffic warden. “Given the traffic mess, the signals cannot help so we manage it manually.”

This is no easy road for the wardens as well who can be spotted running around like crazy at any odd hour during the day.

Abadullah, pushing 40, who has a roadside food stall, is of the view that the situation is almost the same since he started the stall some three years ago.

Haroon Akram Gill

Haroon Akram Gill copy
The writer is environmental journalist and climate leader. He may be reached [email protected]

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