By Salman Raza
MULTAN, Sep 4 (APP): Chief Engineer and Technical Advisor Multan Metro Bus Project Sabir Khan Sadozai says mega transport system in Multan is in the final phases, which will ensure full comfort and facilities to commuters due to its some aditional features.
He said the work has been executed at fast pace and completed in a record time, keeping in view specific weather patterns of the Multan city.
He said civil work has been completed by hundred per cent on the state-of-the-art transportation system that is composed of nine sections. It covers a length of 18.5 km with 12.5 km elevated routes, starting from BZU to Kumharan Walla Chowk with an approximate cost of Rs 31 billion.
Currently, the project is undergoing finishing process, Saddozai said, and added fixing of glasses on metro stations/ terminals, installation of escalators and facilities to help disabled persons were in progress at different points and the overall project may complete in next few weeks.
The ground and elevated route of Metro passes through major intersections of northern bypass, Chungi No 6, Chungi no.9, Fish Market, Daulat Gate, Chungi No 14, BCG Chowk and Vehari Chowk to facilitate approximately 96,000 commuters daily.
The first phase of the metro project named as Corridor-I has been launched in 118 Kanals of land acquired at a cost of Rs. 4.23 billion. “It would help protect utility lines as well, besides providing better transit facilities to masses” Commissioner Multan Division Asad Ullah Khan had said in a statement.
The 18.5 kilometre long track with 12.5 km elevated route has been completed at a record-breaking top speed in history of Multan, project’s media focal person Asghar Khan said.
Engineers had to face difficulties at some points in the city in placing heavy girders. At Mumtazabad, Metro route runs parallel to an already existing bridge.
It was a tough point to negotiate as the long arm of the crane was not finding enough space to move. This trouble was shot by employing old technology, a manual-cum-mechanical system involving pulleys, to move over 100 tons heavy girders and place them on the pillars. Those engaged in construction business identify it as Lal Khan and Kalay Khan technology.
A review team of engineers had recommended some different features for Metro Multan, compared to Lahore and Rawalpindi to make intra-city travel more comfortable amid itchy climatic condition of Multan, the chief engineer said.
In sharp contrast to use of single glass sheet at Pindi and Lahore which carries the possibility of causing humidity that can bother commuters at Metro stations, layers have been kept simpler after using sandwich panel with thick foam, stuffed between two steel layers to protect commuters from direct sun rays.
Over 60 percent heat comes from the roof. That’s why use of glass has been reduced to eight feet only. Over the glass, Louvers of Aluminium were being fixed to cut down heat.
For people with permanent or temporary disability, wheel chairs have been arranged to move safely from one floor to the other and catching up the transit by using the lift. For blinds, special tiles have been fixed to help them move without stick shown, another feature that distinguishes Multan Metro from the rest.
Commuters influx to Metro Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan were assessed at 96000 people per day. However, number of commuters availing this facility in Lahore has risen up to 160,000 per day, Saddozai said hoping that Multan Metro would also attract larger number of people.
Contrary to Lahore and Rawalpindi’s 8.5 km long elevated route, Multan has 12.5 km long bridge.
There would be 21 terminals, seven of them at grades (road-level) and 14 others on the bridge (elevated route).
Daewoo Pakistan would operate a fleet of 35 buses initially under direct monitoring by Metro Authority Lahore.
The number of operational buses would increase on the basis of the need as the Metro depot has the capacity of 100 buses parking.
The command & control centre is being built at Chungi No.9 to manage the system through surveillance cameras and computer network. “Next phase is also in the pipeline to be chalked out after running the current phase successfully by the higher authority” DCO Nadir Chattha said.
Initially, Punjab government is constructing one feeder route to transport commuters to Metro stations, Sadozai said, adding the buses arriving from different places would converge at this lone feeder route.
Moreover, Rotary has been built at Chungi No.9 and the other being constructed at BCG intersection to pave the way to expand bus operation easier in the future, he said.
Metro Bus system was reaching Multan down the order after its opening in Lahore and Rawalpindi and now Multan is going to get some upgraded version of the urban transportation system, Saddozai said.