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Operation and management of Lahore - Islamabad Motorway

  1. The increase in wheat support price
  2. Frontier Works Organisation

Frontier Works Organisation

By Col. Mudesar ul Haque
Dec 06 - 12, 1999

Frontier Works Organisation, is a dynamic name in the field of civil engineering at national/international levels. It is the only organisation in Pakistan which has very large and highly trained manpower and which maintains a huge inventory of plant and equipment to undertake project of varied nature. Frontier Works Organisation was raised in 1966, for construction of Karakoram Highway and its subsequent maintenance. As time passes, Frontier Works Organisation developed into a highly credible force which attracted numerous clients, ready to for utilize its great potential in new avenues.

In September 1997, National Highway Authority planned to inaugurate Lahore-Islamabad Motorway. A necessity, therefore, arose for creating a system for operation and management of motorway. This was an extremely difficult problem with no easy solution as there was no precedence for such work in Pakistan. But once the name of Frontier Works Organisation was suggested for the task the planners heaved a sigh of relief and handed over the responsibilities for operation and management of motorway to Frontier Works Organisation without any reservation. To mobilize the manpower and procure the equipment needed was a mammoth task and demanded tireless efforts on the part of Frontier Works Organisation. This was achieved in a record time of a little more than a month enabling National Highway Authority to open the Motorway on 26 November 1997 as planned.

Tasks assigned to Frontier Works Orwanisation

The Motorway passes through remote areas, hence immediate first aid and medical care is not readily available in case of an accident. Also hindrance to the traffic using the motorway, due to presence of an accidental vehicle is not desirable as it may have serious repercussions. To address these problems in an appropriate manner and also to collect toll, following tasks have been assigned to Frontier Works Organisation:

  • Vehicle access control and toll collection

  • Traffic Management

  • Evacuation of casualties from scene of accident to nearest hospital

  • Recovery of vehicles involved in accident as well as off road/broken down vehicles

  • Keep the Motorway clean

Orzanisation of the Task Force

Frontier Works Organisation, by design, always prefers a functional organisation, without wasteful overheads, which can give desired quick response. The organisation of motorway management setup has been worked out keeping in view these fundamental principles. It is pertinent to mention that the organisation of motorway operation and management was based purely on the expertise of Frontier Works Organisation, without incorporating advice of any consultant as the same were not available. It may be of interest to note that the organisation created by Frontier Works Organistaion which is on ground since 19 November 1997, is almost the same which was worked out by the French consultant who arrived in Pakistan after opening of the Motorway. Frontier Works Organisation employed four management teams each headed by a Lieutenant Colonel under the over all operational control of a Project Director (of the rank of Colonel). The management teams are located at Sheikhupura, Bhera, Belkasar and Thalian with tasks of collection of toll duties from the interchange falling under their areas of control and provide rescue and recovery services in their areas of responsibilities.

Other agencies involved and their responsibilities

Apart from Frontier Works Organisation, few other agencies have also been assigned some responsibilities in connection with operation and management of the Motorway. These agencies include Pakistan Motorway Police with the responsibilities of patrolling the Motorway for traffic control, reporting accidents/broken down vehicles and to provide first aid to the injured. Pakistan Revenue Automation (Private) Limited was responsible for providing backup support for computerized toll equipment.

Manpower

Keeping in view the nature of the task assigned to Frontier Works Organisation, the manpower required was fairly large. A total of 1176 personnel was the absolute minimum. The required strength of different categories of manpower was made up by recruiting 341 persons from the civil in addition to Frontier Works Organisation's own resources.

Transports plant and equipment

Large number of vehicles and other equipment required to perform the assigned tasks, included jeeps, cars, pickups trucks, water bowzers, ambulances, recovery vehicles, fire crash tenders, cranes and front end loaders, arranged by Frontier Works Organisation are deployed on the motorway.

Toll collection

Frontier Works Organisation established manual method of toll collection as it could anticipate that computerized system of toll collection involving use of magnetic card will not work due to many reasons. The procedure worked out had built in checks to stop possibility of pilferage of toll collections. It may be of interest to note that as per international standards, if the toll pilferage is from 8 to 10 per cent of total amount collected, the system is considered to be most efficient. Frontier Works Organisation is proud to claim pilferage free toll collection.

Training of personnel

Although Frontier Works Organisation has well trained manpower which can easily be groomed to switch over to the task of operation and management of motorway, yet some training was required to be given to military as well as civilian manpower, therefore, different training courses were run for military as well as civilian personnel to make them proficient in practicing their trades. Special arrangements were made to train toll operators, shift supervisors, drivers, fire tender operators and nursing staff.

Traffic Management System

The sequence of actions for evacuation of casualties and recovery of accidental vehicles as devised by Frontier Works Organisation is as follows:

The accident will be reported to Motorway Police Control by patrolling police, giving location/place of accident and other necessary details.

Motorway Police will provide necessary first aid to accident victims pending arrival of doctor and para medical staff of Frontier Works Organisation.

The Motorway Police Control will inform Motorway Police patrol cars and Frontier Works Organisation Control giving details about the location of the site and other details.

Required number of ambulances, one recovery vehicle and one fire engine (if required) will immediately be rushed to the site of accident from the nearest Management Team by Frontier Works Organisation Control. In the mean time, Motorway Police cars will reach the scene of accident and place caution/warning signs on inner/outer shoulders of the motorway at appropriate distance from the site of accident and block the lanes covered by accidental vehicles using traffic cones.

  • The ambulances alongwith the doctor arriving at the scene of accident will provide further necessary medical aid to the injured persons. The casualties will be shifted to the nearest designated hospital. Eight hospital along the motorway, earmarked by the government for the purpose are:-

  • Jinnah Hospital Lahore

  • District Headquarter Hospital Sheikhupura

  • Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Bhalwal

  • District Headquarter Hospital Sargodha

  • Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Pind Dadan Khan

  • District Headquarter Hospital Pindi Bhatian

  • District Headquarter Hospital Chakwal

  • Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Islamabad

  • Recovery vehicle will clear the road by towing away/removing the accidental vehicle.

  • Once the lanes are cleared, the road will be broomed/washed off to remove blood and broken glass pieces (if required).

  • Motorway Police will remove the caution/warning signboards and traffic cones and open the entire width of the motorway to the traffic.

Statistics - Traffic Management

Frontier Works Organisation personnel are dedicatedly committed, 24 hours a day 365 days a year, for management and operation of the Motorway since their employment on 26 November 1997. Some of the statistics pertaining to traffic management are as under:

  • Fatal Accidents Covered 634

  • Casualties Evacuated to Hospitals 819

  • On spot First Aid to Accident Victims 822

  • Recovery of Accidental/Broken Down Vehicles 6297

Communication network

During planning, it was realised that communication is the nerve centre for controlling operation and management of motorway. Accordingly special attention was given to this aspect. An elaborate system of communication using wireless and telephone was installed to cover entire length of Motorway. Communication arrangements made include installation of base stations at all toll plazas and camps, mobile stations in every vehicle of Frontier Works Organisation, wireless sets, telephones and Fax facilities. Apart from communication between different units and headquarters, Motorola sets have been provided on all rescue operation vehicles such as ambulances, recovery vehicle and craties.

Operation and management of a Motorway is first experience of its kind by Frontier Works Organisation. Lot of difficulties were faced in the initial stages when the procedures were being evolved/streamlined on ground but with the dedication of officers, junior commissioned officers, other ranks and civil employees of Frontier Works Organisation, we have overcome almost all the hurdles and the operation is now been conducted in an extremely efficient and smooth manner. Frontier Works Organisation is and will (lnsha Allah) prove itself, worthy of the trust reposed in it by the nation.