LAHORE: Residents of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) have been faced with regular traffic jams caused by the delay in the Masjid Chowk development project, especially during Ramazan rush hours, Daily Times has learnt.
The DHA authorities had earlier announced the installation of a new traffic signal on the chowk, along with an underground walkway and an expansion of the main road and the mosque. The project, which was supposed to be completed by the end of the summer vacations, has already exceeded its deadline by two weeks, with work still being done.
Rain: DHA spokesman Tajamul Hussain attributed the delay to the recent monsoon showers. He claimed that the contractors had worked according to the given timeframe for the completion of the project, however, the recent heavy rains had caused major disruption in the work, forcing workers to spend a lot of time draining the water that had flooded the site. He said that the bulk of the work had been completed, and that the workers were simply applying the finishing touches to the project. Hussain said that they had already re-opened the two-way road to facilitate the flow of traffic, adding that installation of the traffic signals was the responsibility of the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA), who were committed to install the signal after Eid. He said that the installation of the traffic signal had been the best option as the location had been unsuitable for the construction of an underpass.
Mosque: The spokesman said that the only part of the project that could be called incomplete was the extension to the main mosque, which had slowed down. He said that the mosque was a bigger project than the square itself, as the plans called for a proper complex with significant parking space, which would take extra time.
A resident of H-Sector, Asim Iqbal, told Daily Times that the contractors had been given more than enough time to complete the work, adding that the residents had been facing problems because of after school and work traffic, which also backed up traffic on Main Boulevard, DHA, sector Z, Y and other areas around Ghazi Chowk.
“The massive traffic jams are routine during school timings, as there is traffic coming to and from the Masjid Chowk and the other squares situated along the route gets backed up because of the delay in the development work on the square,” said Iqbal. He added that the two-way road was still unfinished and the authorities had to use dividers to separate the narrow road.
Underpass: Another resident, Malik Khurram, said that it would have been a better idea to build an underpass for cars rather than people. He said that the DHA administration had done the same with Ghazi Chowk, and had built traffic signals despite several residents suggesting that an underpass be constructed to help smooth traffic.[The News]