Killer IJP Road be made safe for travellers

If ‘signal free’ not possible, overhead bridges, underpasses, traffic signals be installed, footpaths be constructed; Mothers wonder for how long their Sajids will continue to sacrifice their lives at the altar of IJ Pricipal Road

Sarwar Awan

Rawalpindi

The head of a beloved son, husband and father of 3 kids and an asset of Pakistan Railways Carriage Factory was crushed by a heavy vehicle on one of the busiest roads of the Twin Cities, the killer IJP road, a few days ago when the youngman with his scores of co-workers was crossing the road happily to reach home after day’s work.
Earlier, a mother and her son were flattened when a container hit a rickshaw they were travelling in, while a student of a nearby seminary who belonged to a KP city was unfortunate to lose his life under the wheels of a 22-wheeler. It has become a regular feature that innocent people are dying on this road under the wheels of fast moving vehicles. Mothers wonder that for how long their Sajids will continue to sacrifice their lives at the altar of IJ Pricipal road.
The IJP Road passes between two cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi but it seems that no city is ready to own it so the road has utterly failed to attract the attention of Twin-City authorites. Lakhs of people daily travel and cross the road on foot, every one facing death-danger as thousands and thousands of vehicles of every kind, from small to heaviest ones, move at a fast speed without caring for the innocent people and crush them mercilessly.
The congestion of the vehicular traffic can be imagined on the two-way road by the fact that even grown up men fail to cross it easily, what to say of women and children. It happened to me the other day that I had to wait for more than 10 minutes to reach other side of the road.
The IJP road caters to the heavy load of traffic coming and going to all parts of the country which includes buses, cars, wagons, rickshaws, motorcycles, trucks and trawlers carrying goods and heavy machinery. Further hundreds of trucks with vegetable and fruit use this road to reach Capital’s main Sabzi Mandi and further move on to Faizabad to go to Murree, Azad Kashmir and Jhelum, Gujrat and Sialkot, etc and vice versa.
The 14-15 kilometres long road, from Pir Wadhai Morr near Koh-i-Noor Mills to Faizabad, has only four overhead bridges i.e near Pindora Chowk stop, Nullah Leh, Sabzi Mandi Morr and in front of I-10/1 while overhead bridge construction material has been lying on the road side in front of Carriage Factory for many many months but due to unknown reasons the bridge for pedestrians has not been built as yet. It may be mentioned here the Carriage Factory stop is the most busiest one on this road. One fails to understand that why Carriage Factory administration has not demanded the construction of a bridge or underpass as its all employees live on the other side of the road. During my visit to the factory people told me that more than three thousand workers were employed with the Carriage Factory. They were very upset with the accidents involving the factory workers and raised the question of construction of an overhead bridge. They also talked about the latest victim of IJP, Qazi Sajid. They were all praise fo Sajid.
Last year when repair work was started on the road it was hoped that at least a number of overhead bridges, bus stops and footpaths would be constructed but these hopes were dashed to the ground. Further there are no arrangements to control the flow of traffic. The whole road has four traffic signals out of which only two signals at Double Road Chowk and Faqir Appie Road chowk are functioning. Two signals installed at Chak Madad stop and Kacha Stop are out of order. These two stops see great congestion of traffic all the time. These places have seen many accidents in which huge number of people have perished. Heavy trailers, trucks, trawlers and big buses are always posing danger to pedestrians crossing road, motorcyclists and car owners.
It seems that all the departments related to road construction have diverted their attention to Islamabad Expressway. All the energies are being spent to expand, make it signal free and beautify it, because this road is used by foreign dignitaries. The IJP road passes through heavily populated areas on both sides of it but it lacks facilities of a big thoroughfare in cities such as there are no footpaths, no traffic signals and proper bus or wagon stops. There are no arrangements for passengers in case of rain or storm. If it rains there is no place on the sides of the road to wait for transport. Gushing rain water makes it more hazardous. This road looks as it was running through a jungle instead of twin-cities.
Last year, after a great hue and cry by the transporters and daily travellers, a huge amount was spent to repair the road from Faizabad to Pir Wadhai Morr. But it has proved an half-hearted effort as deterioration of the road has started. The recent rains have exposed the road repair especially from Carriage Factory to Sulaimanabad stop.
For the last a few years the flow of traffic has increased many a fold on this road as scores of new addas have been established in the Pir Wadhai area. These buses, coaches and wagons ply from Rawalpindi to all small and big cities of the country, even to Karachi, Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.
This situation has increased dangers for lakhs of Twin-City dwellers who daily travel to their work place using public transport, cars, motorcycles and rickshaws. The authorities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad should take urgent steps to construct bus stops, overhead bridges or underpasses and install traffic signals.
I even talked to a number of daily travellers. They all were of the opinion that both administrations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the Federal Government and NHA should take urgent steps to make this road safe for travellers.
In order to improve and streamline traffic of all kinds this road should be made signal free as Islamabad Expressway. But if it is not possible at present traffic signals, overhead or underpasses should be installed at stops of Westridge PTCL Exchange, Sulaimanabad, Kacha stop, Chak Madad, Carriage Factory, CDA Colony, Katarian Pul, and Double Road Chowk. And to make this road city-worthy footpaths and bus stops also be constructed which are must for the safety of pedestrians.

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