Feasibility of Dualization of Sheikhupura Gujranwala Road
The road network in Pakistan carries over 96 percent of inland freight and 92 percent of passenger traffic and is undoubtedly the backbone of the economy 1. With this large share in carrying the passenger and goods traffic all across the country, roads play a major role in the transportation system and provide connectivity between the centers of production and areas of consumption of agricultural and industrial goods facilitating economic growth, integrating the country, and helping reduce poverty. Due to various economic factors including the declining share of railways in the carriage of passengers and goods and the consequent shift towards their movement by road, the traffic volumes have been on the rise not only in the urban regions of Pakistan but also on the rural roads during the last three decades. The increase in the road traffic, especially the heavy goods vehicles, coupled with a backlog of maintenance due to non-availability of sufficient funds, has resulted in the deterioration of the road infrastructure, economic losses due to travel delays and higher vehicle operating costs, environmental pollution due to traffic congestion and above all severe traffic hazards. All these factors reflect towards an immediate need for the widening and improvement of road infrastructure to meet the rising demand for roadway capacity and pavement strength to sustain the imposed heavy loads in a reliable, safer, economical and environment-friendly manner.
Punjab, being the largest province in the country, has a road network of around 107,973 km including about 3.5% National Highways and 30% low type 2 roads. Being cognizant to the growing need for enhancing the capacity and strength of the road infrastructure, the Govt. of Punjab has embarked upon an ambitious programme of dualization and widening of roads and construction of rural highways and farm to market roads.
For Sheikhupura – Gujranwala road, the scope of survey was confined to 45km segment of road after the reconnaissance survey. This Road serves as the main highway between Sheikhupura and Gujranwala whereas M2 and N5 cater to the traffic from other cities of Punjab for Sheikhupura and Gujranwala respectively. The pavement condition and travel time on both M2 and N5 are much satisfactory than the Sheikhupura– Gujranwala Road which makes the route shift of traffic from these roads quite less likely after the Project road becomes operational.
This project includes details about the various traffic studies undertaken and deemed necessary for obtaining key inputs for the geometric and pavement design of the Project Road and determination of traffic forecasts pertaining to volumes and composition for the next 25 years, thereby carrying out capacity analysis, calculating yearly level of service and lane enhancement requirements. It was ensured that all the aspects have been taken care of that were contained within the scope of works of the terms of reference of the Project. Different types of studies carried out for the aforementioned purposes include: Video graphic surveys and Manual Classified Traffic Counts at mid blocks and Peak Hour Turning Movement Counts at Intersections, Origin – Destination Surveys, Willingness to Pay Surveys and study of the existing route characteristics. The acquired data was utilized for computation of key factors required for analysis and also the determination of 18-kip equivalent standard axle load repetitions over the analysis period presented in the Preliminary Pavement Design Report.