ppostnews.com: LAHORE, The Chubacha Underpass is finally expected to open to traffic by the end of the current month. The project is already three months off schedule.
The initiative was delayed due to red tape and weak coordination among government departments, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday. Project contractor Shahid Saleem said that over 80% of development works of the project have been completed. At present, finishing works, which will take another week or two, are underway.
“It is the longest and the deepest underpass in the city. Considering commuters’ inconvenience, we want to complete this project at the earliest. One should consider the fact that engineering drawings were delayed by Pakistan Railways due to change in design standards to address future needs of railway network after China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project,” he added.
Saleem said that once the finishing works are completed and underpasses on both sides of the canal opened for traffic, it would be handed over to the railways for the installation of a rail track over the underpasses.
According to the project timeline, the contractor has completed construction of most piles in June, but had to wait for almost two months to get the superstructure design from Pakistan Railways. Railway authorities claimed to have changed the design standards while considering future requirements and increased traffic load after completion of CPEC projects.
Initially, it showed the project remained at a standstill as railways failed to provide the requisite no objection certificate (NOC) to the contractor for initiation of construction activity on the railways infrastructure.
The project proposals indicated that after the wastage of six years, the Punjab government finally started Chubacha Underpass on the Canal Road near Royal Palm Golf and Country Club (RPGCC) in March. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) awarded a Rs2.6 billion contract to the Habib Construction Services (HCS) for construction of the city’s longest (1.3 kilometre) underpass on the Canal Road.
Initially, the government had fixed a four-month deadline for completion of the project, but it still required another month to make it fully operational, mainly because of the sluggish performance of government departments.
The project was part of the Rs7.3 billion Canal Road Expansion project between Mall Road and Harbanspura. The height of the underpass at Shalimar Interchange will also be increased under the project as heavy vehicles, like buses and trucks, cannot pass through the existing structure.
The new underpass will be of three lanes on both sides of the canal for which the government has acquired some private and government land. The underpass is starting near the RPGCC and finished before Shalimar Interchange after crossing two railway junctions. City planners believe the construction of a new underpass will dramatically improve smooth traffic flow on Canal Road and reduce traffic congestion during peak hours.