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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lahore Ring Road

The Lahore Ring Road (LRR) is a large road being developed by the Government of Punjab (Pakistan). Its development is intended to ensure the efficient movement of freight and passengers, remove traffic conflicts and boost industrial development. The project includes the construction of a six-lane divided carriageway, interchanges, RCC bridges, reinforced earth abutments/walls, overhead pedestrian bridges, culverts, sub-ways, underpasses, flyovers and related works. As of 2010 30% of the work on the first phase of the road, from Niazi Chowk to Bund Road, which consists of 43 kilometres of new road, was nearing completion. Work on the Southern Loop was set to begin in 2010 but was once again delayed until 2011.

Route

The confirmed route of Lahore Ring Road is from Babu Sabu to Niazi Chowk, and then stretching straight up to Mehmood Booti, passing through GT road, Canal Bank Road, Harbanspura, Barki Road, Allama Iqbal International Airport, Ghazi Road, DHA Phase V & VII, Sui Gas Society, Ferozpur Road, to Hdira Drain (South) to Halloki, Behria Town to Niaz Biag.

There will be one emergency lane on both the sides of the road. Almost 425,000 vehicles will pass through daily. All link roads with Lahore Ring Road will be improved and widened besides repairing all important highways of the city to cater to the flow of traffic. As many as 20 interchanges will be erected on the road to provide better transport facilities.


Decisions, delays, and costs

When the project started in 1992, the cost of the six-lane road with a length of 77 kilometres was estimated to cost Rs 7 billion. Now the ring road, with six lanes stretching out to 43 km, comes at the cost of Rs 85 billion while the same road with 77 km will cost approximately Rs 150 billion.

Changes in government caused delays and changes in the project and the total cost estimates shot up due to increased land acquisition, improvement the standard of existing roads being used in the project, shifting of utility installations, crossing over commercial and residential areas and improvements to junctions.

Critics[who?] say lack of professional capabilities among the departments concerned, loose check and balance and the absence of third-party oversight resulted in inordinate delay and rising costs.

During the project, a number of contracts had been awarded to handpicked contractors without acquiring the land for the construction of the Lahore Ring Road, the largest development scheme in the history of the provincial metropolis. Usually land is acquired by LDA land acquisition collector, and EDO revenue, but in the LRR project the Board of Revenue was involved in acquiring the land exclusively.


History

The Lahore Ring Road was originally conceived 25 years ago and a few studies were carried out on it over this period. The road, touted as an alternative transport route to ease the traffic load within the city, was designed and redesigned with a few alterations, keeping in view the political and economic interests of many in the ruling party.

In 1991, JICA, an institution of Japan, proposed a road-loop in the city and the World Bank prepared a feasibility report on a 60 km ring road. In 1995, the Lahore Development Authority presented its Ring Road scheme. At that time, Daewoo and other foreign companies had signed a memorandum of understanding with the LDA.

However, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif wanted the Ring Road to include Raiwind Road where his family had built its farm houses. As a result, the amended road design proposed a length of 75 km.

The feasibility of the Ring Road project was finalised in 1997 during prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s period but the project could not begin due to lack of funds. After the construction of the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, bids were invited on a built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

The project was delayed again when a multinational company, which had showed interest in the project, said it would undertake the project only if its loans for the Motorway project were refinanced. Another delaying factor was the unavailability of foreign assistance after Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May 1998.

In 2003, President Pervez Musharraf directed the Punjab government to implement the project when he inspected the FC College and The Mall underpasses in 2003. The Lahore Ring Road Project was launched on December 22, 2004 at a ground-breaking ceremony attended by President General Pervez Musharaf.

The Communication & Works Department, Project Management Unit, Government of the Punjab awarded the project “Lahore Ring Road Southern Loop Feasibility Study and Selection of Route” to NESPAK in December 2007. Thos project was awarded to NLC on February 2009. NLC further sub contraced the first phase of Ring Road (Package 4, Saggian Interchange) to Habib Construction Services Pvt. Ltd.. HCS completed this phase on May 2009. The scope of work includes a route alignment study, traffic study, environmental impact assessment, project cost estimates, as well as an economic and financial evaluation.

The work on the Southern Loop was going to start in 2010, but due to funding problems was delayed once again, and is now expected to start in 2011; probably by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).


List of interchanges, intersections, and overhead bridges

  1. Babu Sabu Interchange
  2. Gulshan-e-Ravi Interchange
  3. Saggian Interchange
  4. Niazi Interchage
  5. Badami Bagh Intersection
  6. Underpass near Shadbagh Pumping Station
  7. Mehmood Booti Interchange
  8. GT Road Interchange (Quaid-e-Azam Interchange)
  9. Canal Bank Road/Harbanspura Interchange
  10. Railway Line Intersection
  11. Jallo Road overhead bridge
  12. Barki Road Intersection
  13. Abdullah Gul Interchange (Airport Access road Interchange)
  14. Airport Interchange
  15. Ghazi Road Interchange
  16. DHA phase V/VI Interchange
  17. Sui Gas Society Interchange
  18. Ferozpur Road Interchange
  19. Shalimar Interchange

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