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Bus project devours Ring Road south loop - Printable Version

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Bus project devours Ring Road south loop - Salman - 11-17-2012 01:36 PM

LAHORE : THE Punjab government’s complete focus on the Rapid Bus Transit System (RBTS) for the last one year has shifted all the resources as well as attention to the mammoth project at the cost of many other projects of prime importance. One instance in this regard is 50km long southern loop of Lahore Ring Road from Kamahan Village to Babu Sabu which has been completely ignored by the Shahbaz government. The portion of the Ring Road was scheduled to start in the early 2012.

However, efforts are underway to lease the project to private parties so that construction work could be started early 2013, sources told The News.

The Ring Road, which can be termed the best strategic road for easing unusual traffic load and rush on City’s main arteries, is the major corridor around the provincial metropolis.

The total length of the project, which began in 2006, is about 90km, out of which 40km (Northern Loop) has been completed while the start of 50kms southern loop has been delayed for over eight months. The government officials claim that the project has been delayed due to the lack of funds.

The sources in Lahore Ring Road authority told The News that the Punjab government was facing serious shortage of money to build the southern loop of the road and it had decided to lease it to a private company on a build, lease and transfer basis, which means that the company would build the road and the government would lease the road from the company.

Talking to The News, Lahore Ring Road project director Rashid Langriyal said that the government was soliciting expression of interest from well-reputed national and international firms to undertake work on the remaining portion of the Ring Road, costing about Rs 50billion on a public-private partnership basis. He said that the southern loop would have four sections and work on all the four could start simultaneously but this would depend on the developers chosen for the project. He said the firms/developers would be responsible for detailed engineering, design financing, construction, operation and maintenance and transfer of the project to the authority at the completion of concession period.

Langriyal further said that various local and international firms were under consultation by the Ring Road authority and soon an agreement would be finalised. The southern loop work would start by January 2013, he added.

He said that a “build, lease and transfer” model had been chosen for the project rather than a build, operate and transfer because the road tolls would not generate sufficient revenue.

The first zone, SL-1, of the southern loop will start at Package 17, the terminus of the Northern Loop, and run for nine kilometers. This section will cost around Rs11 billion to build and another Rs2 billion to operate and maintain.

The 13-km second section, SL-2, would run till Raiwind and cost around Rs18.5 billion to build, operate and maintain. The eight kilometer long SL-3 will end at Maraka on the Multan Road and cost Rs 11 to 12 billion, SL-4, the longest section of the southern loop at 18km, would end at Babu Sabu and its cost including operations and maintenance would be around Rs21 billion.

Talking to The News, Commissioner Lahore Jawad Rafique Malik said that government would start working on the Lahore Ring Road, Phase-2, soon after signing of the agreement with private firms.

He denied the reports that the Ring Road phase was being delayed due to the Rapid Bus Transit project, adding that government had allocated funds for both projects, separately.