Better late than never, Lahore is about to be free from traffic jams as City District Government Limited has decided to launch a model road plan to upgrade traffic management on December 19.

Lahore Commissioner Jawad Rafiq Malik has issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the submission of the master plan. He also ordered to complete the entire scope of work within 30 days per instructions of CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. DCO Ahed Cheema has been tasked to monitor the plan and submit the report to CM Secretariat daily.

In the first part worth Rs 338 million, 20 roads have been decided to be remodelled and widened. Special parking system, service lanes, CCTV cameras, flyovers and underpasses will also be added per requirement. During the meeting held at Commissioner Office on Friday, Jawad Rafiq warned officials of showing delinquency, saying those who would fail to complete the task within the timeline should resign on their own or get ready to face departmental action. He also directed them to make pre and post films of 20 roads to discern the difference.

The meeting was attended by enforcement inspector Col (r) Younis Bharola, Chief Traffic Officer Syed Ahmed Mubeen, Environment DO Tariq Zaman, assistant commissioner and the officials of WASA, WAPDA and PHA. The meeting reflected on the plan for 20 roads including Mall Road, Jail Road, Ferozepur Road, Multan Road, Canal Link Road, Lower Mall, Inter and Outer Lower Mall, GT Road, Main Boulevard Gulberg, Wahdat Road, Macleod Road, Main Boulevard Iqbal Town, Peco Road, Madra-e-Millat Road, Main Boulevard Johar Town, Davis/Empress Road, Sabzazar, Ravi Road and Maulana Shaukat Ali Road.

The roads around the Alhamra, China Chowk to Shadman Chowk and Kinnard College, Shadbagh, Railway Station to Lorri Adda, Circullar Road, Azadi Chowk, Shahdara Chowk, Begum Road, Daroghawala, Cooper Store, Fiasal Town, Gulshan Iqbal Moor, Eden Center, Garhi Shaho, Ghazi Chowk, Mazang, Litton Road, Bahawlpur Road and Model Town.

The meeting deliberated on the salient features of the plan and decided to map out short-term plans to normalise traffic on those roads which regularly witnessed worst traffic jams. With carrying out befitting arrangement to check encroachment on these roads, needless traffic signals would be replaced with purposeful ones, meeting said. The meeting also revealed that marriage halls, schools, educational institutions and hospitals would be shifted to other areas in a bid to keep the traffic flow uninterrupted.

However, official who attended the meeting said the plan had some flaws which should be addressed. “Missing signs, roads markings are also one of the problems creating traffic mess in the provincial metropolis,” he added. A senior official of Tepa talking to Pakistan Today said the encroachments on major and minor roads had blocked the smooth flow of traffic in the city, adding that these were one of the major factors behind bottlenecks.

He said a traffic study conducted by the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) in 2006 showed that the traffic volume on all city roads had crossed the international standard capacity of lanes that was 8,000 vehicles per lane. And new traffic management plan did not discuss this point in detail, he added.

Per information, a number of bottlenecks on city roads are permanent nuisance for Lahorites resulting in traffic mess for hours on daily basis and disrupting routine life. Bottlenecks are defined as the areas where a special character of a road is missing at a certain point as if a road had three lanes and it is suddenly narrowed to two lanes or discontinued.