LAHORE: The Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) is to shelve major projects to build parking plazas and focus instead on smaller road repair and traffic management projects in the coming months.

The agency had designed a dozen or so parking plazas and some underpasses and flyovers around the city, but all big projects have been put on hold on the orders of the chief minister because of a lack of funds, TEPA officials said.

TEPA built the controversial parking plaza at the Liberty Roundabout which is currently the subject of a legal challenge by owners of nearby shops. It had announced plans to start construction of a plaza for motorcycle parking at Hall Road, but ran into delays because of difficulties in the transfer of Auqaf Department land for the structure.

Now, TEPA will focus on the repair of four major link roads: MM Alam Road, Model Town Link Road, Peco Road and LOS Cantt Drain Road (also known as Nalay Wali Sarak, stretching from LOS Stop on Ferozepur Road to Multan Road). Plans to repair the former two have been delayed several times.

The agency has also identified 25 junctions in Lahore which require alteration and rehabilitation, said officials. These points include the GT Road-Shalimar junction, GT Road-Sukh Nehar junction, GT Road-Cooperative Store junction, Alhamra junction on The Mall, Khayban-i-Jamia Punjab junction, China Chowk junction and Shabbir Usmani Road junction.

A TEPA official told The Tribune that there were no funds are available for the construction of parking plazas as all the money had been spent on the Kalma Chowk flyover and the ongoing Canal flyover on Ferozepur Road.

He said that the plan to repair roads would also cost around Rs1 billion. “The Punjab government will provide the money as the LDA [Lahore Development Authority] is in no position to pay,” he said. “They will definitely arrange for the funds as they think that these projects will be vote winners.”

TEPA Director for Traffic Engineering Asrar Saeed said the road repairs would begin as soon as the government provided funds.
He said that the junctions needed small repairs or alterations that would greatly improve traffic flow. “The project is more about traffic management than rehabilitation,” he added.

Saeed said that he could not say when or if the major infrastructure projects would be reactivated. “There is currently no money for them,” he said.