Is Widening of Islamabad Expressway a Solution to Twin Cities ‘Congestion Problem’?October 25, 2019
Our Physical Heritage!October 25, 2019
Precious time, up to an hour of delay, is faced by many as congestion problem transfers itself from the Highway to distribution links.
I am writing this blog in continuation of my earlier blog. The widening of Islamabad Highway was taken up at that time by Capital Development Authority (CDA). Now, major part of the project is completed as the road from zero point to up till Gulberg Interchange has been widened. Interchange at Sector I-8/H-8, Link for heavy traffic towards IJP at Sohan, Interchange at Koral and Interchange at Gulberg Greens have been built under this widening and improvement project. Interchange at Naval Anchorage has also been built and work is under process at Khana Pul Interchange.
This effort has made the corridor from Zero Point to up till Gulberg Greens, a length of 13 km, nearly signal free and without any obstruction which will be realized shortly, after the completion of Khana Pul Interchange. Travelling at a speed of 80 km per hour, on a signal free corridor now takes hardly 10 minutes to ride this 13 km length, end to end. As I predicted earlier, the start and end nots of this transit now face more congestion than ever before. The daily commuters reading my blog can highly relate themselves!
People traveling on Islamabad Highway to their offices from populated housing societies of Zone-V of Islamabad & surrounding areas of Rawalpindi (like Bahria Town, DHA, Soan Gardens, Pak PWD, Pakistan Town and many more) face thick congestion from Soan Gardens entrance up till Korang River bridge near Gulberg Entrance, at both morning and evening peak hours. This congestion relaxes after the bridge, as the road becomes five lanes ultimately converging into more congestion as traffic from E, F, G, H & I Series joins in at the end nots. Resultantly, intersections are chowked at Jinnah Avenue-Faisal Avenue Flyover at Blue Area, Intersection between 7th Avenue and Kashmir Highway, Intersection at Rawal Roundabout and Serena Hotel Chowk and all other adjoining raods.
Precious time, up to an hour of delay, is faced by many as congestion problem transfers itself from the Highway to distribution links. The losses in terms of fuel, vehicle operation and maintenance, travel time, environmental and stress and fatigue faced by commuters are yet to be discussed.
Introduction of Bus Rapid Transit on the Islamabad Highway is the need of the hour. It can be the most promising solution for reducing congestion. It does not require any heavy investments, as experienced in the past in case of Metro Bus. Only buses running on Islamabad Highway, with a dedicated left most lane to bus service, separated by a single yellow lane marking can do wonders. Dedicated Bus Bays with Bus Stops along the Highway can be developed easily, a kilometer apart, to serve the surrounding population. This project can be made financially viable by making transit stations regulating commercial activities, as per daily commute requirement.
Transportation and Traffic Management identifies a bridge on a transit corridor as the weakest link. Even with the introduction of the bus service, existing single lane bridges; at Korang River, Railway Line overhead near Pakistan Town entrance and bridge at Nullah before Naval Anchorage have to be upgraded. These require to be widened to support the five lane Highway they have to feed. Otherwise they will continue to serve as weakest links creating congestion, regardless of the heavy investments carried out under this ambitious infrastructure project carried by the city management.