Work on ‘CBD square boulevard’ to begin by month-end
The construction work on a newly-planned 300-foot wide major road, with a flyover to cross railway tracks, connecting Walton Road and Ferozepur Road, from Gulberg central business district, is all set to begin by end of this month, as preparatory arrangements are currently being completed by the Punjab Central Business District Development Authority (PCBDDA) — formerly the Lahore Central Business District Development Authority — and the project is expected to complete within four months, Dawn has learnt.
“This is a unique project that is considered to be the core component of the Pakistan’s first business district project — Central Business District (CBD). Since Rs8.5 billion PC-1 of the 3.5km-long road-flyover project titled “CBD square boulevard” has been approved, we are set to start construction work by end of this month,” PCBDDA chief executive officer (CEO) explained while talking to Dawn.
Discussing salient features of the project, CEO Mr Amin said the proposed site for the road has already been connected with the Kalma Chowk’s CBD underpass that has been completed a couple of days ago, but couldn’t be opened for the traffic since there was no road ahead for the motorists seeking entrance to the CBD project area, to reach Walton Road.
After completion of the boulevard, the motorists will be able to easily enter the CBD, using Kalma Chowk underpass, blue lane and the CBD underpass. This underpass concludes at the point where once some plant nurseries existed.
The PCBDDA CEO said the authority would be spending funds on this project from its own financial resources, as no funding from the provincial government or the parent department would be sought. He said the project would give access through slip roads to the Falcon Housing Society, Askari-V, Gulab Devi Hospital and Ferozepur Road and cross the railway tracks through a flyover and finally connect to Ferozepur Road.
“After the project’s completion, the traffic burden on Ali Zeb Road and the Ferozepur Road would reduce, as the motorists seeking access to Walton Road and reach various phases of DHA would prefer using this new road,” Mr Amin said.
To a question, Mr Amin said the road would have high-rises on its both sides — the main feature of the business district. The main CBD, according to him, has been divided into to two districts— Quaid district and Bab district. Quaid district will consist of the land from Kalma Chowk to the originating point of the proposed flyover, while the Bab district will comprise the land starting from the endpoint of the flyover and end at Walton Road (Bab-e-Pakistan).
“Both districts will have state of the art infrastructure, roads, special pedestrian areas/walkways, residential and commercial areas, malls, shopping centres, parking areas, apartment buildings, high-rises etc. After completion of the entire CBD project, one part of which (new Kalma Chowk underpases, remodeling of the roads) has been completed recently, the Lahore will look like a modern, international city,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, the PCBDDA management opened the Centre Point underpass for the traffic informally on Sunday, giving a signal free access to motorists travelling from Barkat Market (Garden Town) to Cavalry Ground and onward via Kalma Chowk, Ali Zeb Road, Lal Shehbaz Qalandar underpass (Firdaus Market) and Cantt flyover.
The underpass was opened for the traffic in the presence of Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa, who visited the Kalma Chowk remodeling project.
“This is soft launch of the underpass by the commissioner. The formal inauguration will be done by caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi in a day or two,” the PCBDDA chief said. The CBD underpass would also be opened for traffic soon after completion of the boulevard project on which civil work would soon be launched, he added.
It merits mentioning that the Kalma Chowk Remodeling Project is one of the core components of the Lahore CBD project and aims to allow an easy access to the CBD at Walton, avoiding the traffic in the vicinity. The project’s first underpass (from Barkat Market to CBD area at Gulberg and Walton) is 285 meters long, having two barrels (each having 35 feet width with around 17 feet vertical clearance). Its second two-lane underpass turning towards Ali Zeb Road from Centre Point, measuring 632 metres, has two barrels (each having 38 feet width and around 17 feet vertical clearance), allowing the light as well heavy transport to pass though it.