Feasibility Study of Dualization of Hasilpur Bahawalnagar 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.
The Project Road is located in North-East of Pakistan. The road segment i.e. from Hasilpur – Bhawalnager measures approximately 80 Km in length with no major roads in the immediate vicinity; therefore, traffic survey was conducted on this segment only. The Project road is placed amongst well-known towns like Hasilpur, Chishtiyan, Haroonabad, Bhawalnagar, Vehari, and Bhawalpur. These towns mark sizable to and fro traffic as Chishtiyan – Hasilpur – Bhawalpur road is the historical pathway of major trading professionals. Starting point of the survey i.e. Chunawala road connects the project road to grain market of Hasilpur, whereas, Mailsi intersection is the survey end point of the given road segment. The two roads crossing the Mailsi intersection are Bhawalnagar By-pass and Bhawalpur – Hasilpur road.
The study was undertaken in the month of February 2015 to estimate the volume and composition of traffic expected to use the Project Section of the Road. It provides the traffic input required for carrying out the geometric and pavement design and economic feasibility study of the project.
The traffic study was designed and accomplished according to the scope of works presented in the project terms of reference and keeping in view the various project requirements. The work includes: collection and review of historic data, fresh traffic surveys including 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, analysis of these data leading to traffic forecasts for the next 25 years; capacity analysis comprising determination of the year-wise level of service and lane requirements after completion of the project; and also the determination of 18 kip equivalent standard axle load repetitions over the analysis period presented in the Preliminary Pavement Design Report.