Underpasses are not for Karachi. Flyovers are!

Posted on August 3, 2006
Filed Under Economy & Development
11 Comments
Total Views: 22783

By Owais Mughal

Underconstruction Ghareebabad UnderpassWhile Lahore is getting known for its underpasses, Karachi takes its pride from an ever burgeoning infrastructure of flyovers.

But since 2005, when Karachi took a go at underpasses, it seems to fail miserably. First of all there is not enough plannig done for water drainage out of the underpasses. Second, underpasses are not easy to expand for future demands. While Karachi roads go through regular expansion every few years, these 2-lane underpasses are bound to become a bottle-neck.

Clifton UnderpassThus in my opinion Flyovers are the answer for Karachi’s traffic problems and not the underpasses.

Underpasses have only one advantage over flyovers and that is aesthetics. Since they do not climb out in the air 40-50 feet therefore they are not an eyesore, do not block light and do not add to the noise level. Karachi now has a fully built (Clifton) and two under construction (Ghareebabad and Nazimabad) underpasses. Few months ago I heard that planning should be done for drainage before the monsoon season starts this year. Monsoon season has started and within two days, all three underpasses now look like lakes with water level anywhere from 14-18 feet in them.

For Clifton underpass 3 fire-engines are working round the clock to pump water out but to no avail yet. There is just no proper drainage where water should be spilled. Being lowest surface in the area, all underpasses become a natural collection point for rain water from all around the area. Nazimabad Underpass after monsoon rains Gharibabad and Nazimabad flyovers have become lakes before they are even completed. It will become clear in few days as to how much delay will be added to their completion time because of this calamity.

Today’s newspapers are full of blame game stories where different city agencies are going at eachother for not providing drainage infrastructure around the underpasses. This underpass at Clifton has built-in pumps to drain water out so it needs to be seen why those pumps got overwhelmed and failed.

I am not a civil engineer but growing up in Karachi and being familiar with its infrastructure, I want to say that underpasses are not for Karachi, flyovers are. Build more flyovers which are less constrained by space and land problems and are easy to expand in the future.

Owais Mughal grew up in Karachi and is an Electrical Engineer now living in St. Louis, Missouri.

11 responses to “Underpasses are not for Karachi. Flyovers are!”

  1. afreen says:

    Why do people only present the negative and despairing views? These pictures were taken when the bridges were not fully completed, and the fault lied in only one underpass i.e Clifton one. Becuz, the drainage system that leads to main drainage was going over full, and the water was coming back into the bridge. Water does not remain in other underpasses… now Karachi’s bridges and underpasses have completely changed the outlook of KHI, and we are thankful to City Govt and President Musharraf for this improvement!

    For latest pics of Karachi, amazing and advance karaci, pls visit ‘Skyscraper city” http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=374 401&page=48

    Karachi is almost as better as Singapore, and I’ve personally seen both.

  2. i agree with sumaira that the tranport system in pakistan is worse ever, as the rikshaws are the biggest hurdle in cleanliness of the city in every aspect. if these will be banned and the former buses would be tranformed to a new clean ones. i think it will move towards betterness. Nobody could blame the govt as they showed their ever strengh in pushing forward the country towards development.

  3. sumaira says:

    i think k humari govt agar real main trafic problums ko solve kerna chati hay to govt ko local bus system ko improve kerna hoga k log apni transport k bajaai local bus main suffar kerain.

  4. […] Karachi is going through a big infrastructure overhaul these days. Many roads are dug up for building signal-free corridors. This has shifted traffic load to lesser known roads. One such route, which is taking the burnt of traffic load is the University Road to daak-khana chowk (post office intersection) Liaquatabad route via Sindhi Hotel. […]

  5. Aziz Akhmad says:

    This comment may not be relevant here but is triggered by this incongruous name Nehr-e-Khayam given to an open drain in Clifton, Karachi, which has now turned into an open sewer. This is about incongruous names.

    Another strange and incompatible name that comes to mind, again in Karachi, is the one given to the employees’ colony of Pakistan Steel Mills. It is called Gulshan-e-Hadid, which literally means flowerbeds of Steel or, more generally, garden of steel. Can anyone visualize a garden of steel? If they hadn’t used the arabic word Hadid for steel and stuck to Urdu name it would been Gulshan-e-faulad!

    Can’t Karachiites, who do not need any lessons in Urdu from anyone, come up with more harrmonius names?

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