The much-awaited Lyari Expressway Project in Karachi has been completed with over 150 percent increase in cost compared to the initial PC-1 cost, besides delays of over 15 years.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the much-awaited North Bound Carriageway of the Lyari Expressway Project in Karachi on Sunday.
The Expressway will become operational immediately following its formal inauguration, said spokesperson National Highway Authority (NHA) Kashif Zaman while talking to this correspondent.
The northbound Lyari Expressway inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan yesterday will be opened to traffic later today. The same toll rates, as charged on the southbound track will be applicable on the north track as well.
Started in 2002
The project that started in 2002 saw frequent delays due to non-availability of required right of way (ROW), owing to large-scale settlements and encroachments on either side of Lyari River.
A parliamentary panel was recently informed that the cost of Lyari Expressway project has increased by over 150 percent with the original cost of Rs. 5.9 billion, approved by Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), to the estimated cost of Rs. 12.99 billion.
When work started on the Lyari Expressway in May 2002, the NHA had scheduled completion in 30 months (i.e. by November 2004) but the project was still incomplete with delays attributed to encroachment, litigation, and funding issues.
Kashif Zaman said that PC-1 cost of the project was Rs. 11.94 billion, but after the completion of the project, the total cost was around Rs 10 billion.
Northbound Side delayed
The Southbound side (16 km) of the Expressway was completed and opened to traffic in 2008. Work on Northbound side (16 km) was stopped after completing 6.5 km in 2009.
Work restarted on a serious note in 2016 when the remaining ROW was made available to NHA.
He said the total length of the project including ramps is 38 km, with a construction cost of Rs. 10 billion. It includes 4 interchanges at Sorab Goth, Manghopir, Sir Shah Suleman and Maripur. 20 major bridges are also part of the project.
Importance of the Project
The project carries immense importance in reducing the ever-growing traffic volume in Karachi. The traffic coming from the port and Super Highway (now M9) will use the expressway to reach their destinations without going into the city. It will also reduce flood damages to the areas along the river and will add to the environmental protection of the entire region.