NESPAK official says project execution would require international firm with good track record
* Steering committee chairman says available funding will be considered
By Mansab Dogar
LAHORE: The Punjab government’s plan to construct an elevated expressway from Kainchi Stop to the Niazi Interchange will render the Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) project obsolete, said experts associated with the project.
The experts told Daily Times that the elevated expressway is estimated to cost Rs 40 – 50 billion while the LRMT project would have cost the government about three billion dollars. A National Engineering Services of Pakistan (NESPAK) official said that the department had prepared a feasibility of the expressway, which will be presented to the government soon. According to the report, the expressway will have two lanes on both sides, and would be supported with pillars erected on the greenbelt running down the middle of the Ferozepur Road. He added that a couple of unavoidable linkages would be provided, which have not been determined yet.International: The official maintained that the project was very practical and would cost about Rs 50 billion. He said that only international firms with good track records could execute the project with limited local expertise. If this project is completed, there is very little chance that the LRMT will ever be undertaken, he added.
Utility: A Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) official associated with the LRMT project said that the LRMT project was better as it benefited commuters more than car owners, adding that the elevated expressway was designed to facilitate private vehicle owners. However, he admitted that as far as cost effectiveness was concerned, the expressway was far cheaper and would be completed much faster than the LRMT project, which would take at least another five years.
Funding: Lahore Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase-II Steering Committee Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassan said that the committee was waiting for a presentation on the expressway project, adding that the utility of both projects for the city would be evaluated before any final decision was taken. He said that the LRMT was undoubtedly a larger project in terms of monetary expenditures, adding that the availability of funding for either project would also be taken into account.
Source: Daily Times, 27/10/2008
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