Karachi Elevated Expressway — developments and issues

The Karachi Elevated Expressway (KEE) requires land from a number of institutions built along its proposed route. These include: the Pearl-Continental Hotel, Aisha Bawany School, Regent Plaza, FTC, the Navy Housing Scheme, Qasr-e-Naz and the State Guest House in the South, Sea Breeze Plaza, the Central Store Depot near the Drigh Road Station, and a strip measuring 800 metres square near Narqis Cinema at Quaidabad, etc. Aakhri khabreiN aaney tak, none of these institutions are willing to give up any portion of their land. According to the property laws of Pakistan, however, they don’t have much of a case. The land belongs to the State (it was leased out to these institutions), and can be taken back if the State needs it — with appropriate “compensation”, of course. Looking at the compensation given to the people who were affected by the Lyari Expressway (a plot + Rs 50,000) doesn’t give us much hope, however.

Moreover, 11,000 trees will be chopped down to make room for the expressway. The KEE will also effectively form a “roof” over the Quaid-e-Azam House, and will ruin the landscaping.

There are also doubts about the KEE’s financial status. The price tag has grown from the initial US$225 million to US$350 million (Rs 21 billion). The developer (a Malaysian firm) is expected to recover its investment by collecting tolls from all vehicles over the first 20 years of its life. This means that the KEE operator will need to collect Rs 1.05 billion per year (more than Rs 2.876 million per day). If the average toll per vehicle per trip is set at Rs 20 that would amount to 143,835 cars per day using the KEE. Divided between the six entry/exit points, that amounts to almost 24,000 cars per exit per day or one car every 3.6 seconds. It would seem unlikely that the CDGK’s financial claims about this project will be realized.

A “public hearing” was held today — let’s see if the officials concerned take the questions, opinions and suggestions raised there into account. They showed pictures of what Karachi would look like after the KEE is complete — and the pictures were beeeeeautiful! Here’s hoping that the project will turn out as planned, and won’t end up being another one of those flyovers-turned-bridges / floating-underpasses.

37 Comments so far

  1. Ali (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

    where are those pictures? upload them please


  2. UZi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

    no pictures right now, sowie! will upload ’em if I get ’em!


  3. Faisal (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    I dont like the sound of this project…
    I’m sure much smarter people have done a cost/benefit analysis. But doesn’t sound right to me.


  4. UZi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

    @ Faisal: It doesn’t sound right to ANYONE — except the CDGK itself. :P


  5. Omar R Quraishi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=49422

    An elevated environmental risk

    By Arif Belgaumi

    [Comment edited by UZi. People who want to read the article can follow the URL above ~ thanQ!]


  6. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

    I think the entire plan needs to be re-evaluated its going to be a nightmare trying to wrestle out land from a number of stake holders when the ‘Phatak’ running along side Shahrai-Faisal can be an equally good alternative throughout its length. Railway has land 50 feet to the right and 50 feet to the left, I am sure an elevated track on top of the existing railway line wont hurt anyone, additionally it wont inconveinince the entire city during its construction apart from maybe a few intersections.

    The Local Govt needs to seriously re-think the initiative and avoid getting into a mess which has ‘doom’ written on it from the start – the jump from 225 – 350 million is already an eye opener


  7. BitterTruth (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

    I think you people haven’t heard Mushy. He said environmentalist get off (= fuck off)!! lets us build (our bank balance)
    CDGK is not trying proven solutions of transport problem like light trains across city, instead going for unique solutions like elevated highways whose benefits, keeping environmental losses aside, are still less than mass transit system.


  8. Sufi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    Bittertruth, I am not in favor of the whole idea, but do you even know the cost of light trains.


  9. Truth (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

    UZI you wrote : “According to the property laws of Pakistan, however, they don’t have much of a case. The land belongs to the State (it was leased out to these institutions), and can be taken back if the State needs it — with appropriate “compensation”, of course.” –
    i am just wondering if you can confirm me the authenticity of what you have written, becasue i have doubts.

    @Bittertruth: i am inclined to agree with what you have said because the KEE idea doesnt really sounds like a practical solution to me either.


  10. UZi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

    @ Truth:

    I’ve given a link to a piece that Daily Times did about this. You can check it out here: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=200743\story_3-4-2007_pg12_10 .. it was printed today [April 3, 2007].

    If you see paragraphs number 6 and 7 in the article, you’ll get your answer.. : ) DT has quoted Irshad Qadir (land law professor) and Afzal Khan (legal advisor). Absolutely verified-and-counter-checked information! : )


  11. Truth (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

    Thank you UZI, the link you have provided is helpful. I totally forgot that the land has been leased for 99 years. :)

    I am glad to hear that the architects and urban planners also have reservations to this project. “Architects and urban planners have already expressed their reservations for the project. “Shahrah-e-Faisal, which served the city before Partition is not designed for this purpose,” said architect Arif Belgaumi.”

    link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=200743\story_3-4-2007_pg12_10


  12. UZi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

    Yeah we’ve done quite a few indepth pieces about the KEE at DT… I’ll look up the other URLs as well


  13. ed (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 10:18 pm

    The concept of the State taking private property for the betterment of the population as a whole is referred to as the Law of Eminent Domain in the U.S.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain

    It has mainly been used to demolish houses in order to build shopping centers etc.


  14. ed (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

    I should add that the use of the law to demolish houses in order to build shopping malls is a recent use of the law. But previously in the U.S. it was used to appropriate land to build airports and highways (the most notably highway system being the U.S. Interstate Highway System, modeled after the German Autobahns)


  15. BitterTruth (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 12:21 am

    @Sufi
    I confess I have no exact figure but little search reveals minimum cost of $15 Million per mile. Since the KEE is 24 Kilometer long (=15 mile), the cost apparently is $225 million (The current cost of KEE is more with “added” disadvantages).
    The only problem for light train is electricity, with which we are not blessed.


  16. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 1:13 am

    this projected is doomed even before its inception…


  17. Kar-Achi Battian (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 4:04 am

    It looks like going down before even getting elevated.

    Only objective this project aimed at is to elevate futher their Alps in Switzerland, you know what I mean.


  18. TURAB (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    in a city of 1 million ,,, one of our expressways handles 160000 cars everyday…. i think this project has potential financially… in a city of 16 million plus this project is a necessity


  19. MB (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 10:53 am

    If altaf bhai wants peace i am sure he will ask the duffers here to re-consider this plan and come up with a more realistic plan which should benefit the public transport & not the special transport.

    Else they are already expert in using force to have their way out.

    A related post on it was this one :
    http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/2007/02/19_reasons_why_1.phtml

    IMHO the expressway or similar ideas are a need of time but the other honest question is : Is it worth what we shall give in, is there no alternative etc.


  20. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

    mini replica of this elevated expressway already built would be the Liaqutabad flyover(first flyover in paksitan built by nespak over Shara-e-pakistan,2nd was Nazimabad flyover) … this flyover todate remains underutilized and most of the drivers loves to drive under it instead of over it resulting in traffic jams under this flyover every day… just to ease of pressure even a underpass has been built under this flyover at liaqatabad intersection … same problem will arise on shara-e-faisal where almost all the commuters would love to stay on ground instead of traveling of the first floor and major jams would be witnessed on the lower level of the road which would be become narrow coz of fat pillars of elevated expressway…
    bottomline is that it would be a costly underutilized eyesore… to ease of traffic on Shara-e-faisal built a road parralel to SF instead of an elevated road over SF…


  21. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 12:44 pm


    this flyover todate remains underutilized and most of the drivers loves to drive under it instead of over it resulting in traffic jams under this flyover every day.

    This is not true for the first flyover of Karachi[Nazimabad flyover]. Things have become more better after underpass.


  22. Hossp (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

    I am just amazed at the negativity here.

    “Shahrah-e-Faisal, which served the city before Partition is not designed for this purpose,” said architect Arif Belgaumi.”
    This must be some nutcase.
    Sharah e faisel was not built before partition. Before partiton there was a small road which was known as Drigh road. Is this architect Arif Belgaumi really an idiot? He obviously has no idea how the flyovers are constructed.


  23. Hoosp (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

    d0ct0r at April 4, 2007 12:27 PM
    “this flyover todate remains underutilized and most of the drivers loves to drive under it instead of over it”

    What can you do if the drivers are idiots and fail to benefit from a better way to drive. Should we stop all development because some lunatic wont use the facilities?


  24. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    yep i stand corrected… Nazimabad 1st & liaqutabad flyover 2nd


  25. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 1:31 pm

    @Hoosp most of bazars/markets are located below that flyover so obviously those who intend to go to these markets will have to avoid this flyover… same will be the case of Shara-e-faisal … where most of the offices and buildings would be located on lower levels so the the traffic would avoid the upper level and it would stay underutilized …


  26. JayJay (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

    Negativity abounds here.

    I don’t think the Malaysian firm will have touched the project with even a barge pole had it not been financially feasible and, importantly, profitable.

    I also do not know where does the figure of “11,000 trees” getting the chop as a result of the KEE comes from. I doubt there will be so many trees even in the vicinity. Source please?


  27. omar r. quraishi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

    urooj — that’s the lamest excuse i ever heard — dr alvi — may i ask why my post was edited and only the link given — is that a policy here?

    a case of sour grapes urooj?


  28. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

    @omar what does dr alvi have to do with editing your post?


  29. UZi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

    @ ORQ: Dr. Alvi has nothing to do with me editing your comment. The reason I did it (and I’ve told this to you before as well) is the fact that posting entire articles (unless absolutely neccessary) in the comments box is plain stupid — hounds up the bandwidth, etc.

    “Sour grapes”? I’d really like to know where you get your ideas from — oh wait, on second thought, I’d rather not know. :P


  30. UZi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

    @ JayJay: Newsflash! The cost has gone up even more! Yes, it has now crossed the US$350 million waala mark as well… as for the tress, source: the environmental impact assessment issued by the CDGK! : )


  31. UZi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

    Yaar this page is messed up now :S the sidebar has dropped below the main text! howww the heck did that happen!!! :S


  32. BoZz (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

    Check this news out people

    Thirty-seven social sector development and poverty related projects worth more than $2.2 billion face closure after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) refused to grant further extension on the present loan closing dates of these schemes.

    Official documents reveal that seven projects are being closed down immediately while in case of the remaining 30 projects the concerned authorities are being asked to complete them before their respective closing dates or face the music.

    What is really hurting is the fact that a total of $1,434 million has already been disbursed against the endangered projects while $790 million remained un-disbursed. And the irony remains that although the huge amount already disbursed would add to the country’s ever-mounting foreign debt to be paid back by taxpayers, there is no accountability of those responsible for the delay or non-execution of these projects.

    Zindabad….


  33. pkhan (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

    Seems a good project to me, people will save time, petrol, environmentally friendly less pollution.What if they cut trees? can they plant same # of trees?You have to sacrifice before you can get any thing?Did we got Pakistan without any sacrifice?Any new project when it comes on paper has plus and minus points but in long run become a facility. What we should have plan 30years ago now we are doing it so lets appreciate that some one is taking good initiatives.


  34. naveed (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:01 am

    None of the resevations made in any article are noteworthy. I think its merely a case of opposition for the sake of opposition that plagues nearly all the developmental projects of karachi.
    The parallel route to SF is definitely needed to avoid the long standing problem of traffic jams and its seems an obvious solution to problem. Many countries have expressways just because some are demolishing it now doesn’t mean they are useless for everyone.
    I think these architects are fuming only because they were not given contracts for the project which was leased to a foreign firm. Otherwise they would have made millions.
    Its a selfish world.


  35. naveed (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:07 am

    None of the resevations made in any article are noteworthy. I think its merely a case of opposition for the sake of opposition that plagues nearly all the developmental projects of karachi. Even some people criticising the project on this post are well-known for this art.
    The parallel route to SF is definitely needed to avoid the long standing problem of traffic jams and its seems an obvious solution to problem. Many countries have expressways just because some are demolishing it now doesn’t mean they are useless for everyone.
    I think these architects are fuming only because they were not given contracts for the project which was leased to a foreign firm. Otherwise they would have made millions.
    Its a selfish world.


  36. omar r. quraishi (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

    whatever urooj —


  37. omar r. quraishi (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

    and bozz posted part of an article but no link — that’s ok — haha



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