Beirut Transport System Upgrade
The objective of the transport study was to establish a sound framework for developing and managing transport within Greater Beirut Area. This included the rationalisation of the use of existing urban transport capacity and identifying new capacity and systems to meet the requirements of the future. The proposed project covers a number of components to improve the operational and economic efficiency of the Greater Beirut Area urban transport system. Four of these components consist of a traffic management component, a grade separation component, a parking component and the rehabilitation of the public transport services.
BEIRUT TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT COMPONENT
The Traffic Management Component is composed of three inter-related elements. The first being the installation of traffic signals covering 211 intersections in the Greater Beirut Area. The second is the installation of a pilot video surveillance system along four corridors, as part of a plan for other corridors in the future. The third element is the establishment of a traffic control centre, which will be a communication hub connecting all traffic control sub-systems and from which monitoring, control and intervention can be managed.
BEIRUT GRADE SEPARATION COMPONENT
The Grade Separation Component consists of installing overpasses and/or underpasses at 16 highly congested intersections in the Greater Beirut Area. Traffic management at these intersections is not possible with just the use of traffic signals. Therefore, the proposed grade separation was the only remaining solution to address the congestion problem. Construction began in 2000 and is expected to last about five years.
BEIRUT PARKING COMPONENT
The Parking Component had consisted of constructing five underground parking facilities on municipal land in the Greater Beirut Area. This component has been reviewed in the Environmental Assessment and has been dropped from the proposed project and may be considered as a future element of the Greater Beirut Area Transport plan.
This has been replaced with a Parking Improvement Programme; the programme will consist of organising on-street parking and controlling parking along main arteries and in selected zones. There will be increased off-street parking in those zones by developing appropriate strategies. These activities will focus on the introduction of modern metering systems and the development of an effective parking enforcement programme.
BEIRUT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
The environmental impact analysis showed that the greatest environmental impact occurs during the construction phase particularly with respect to dust and noise emissions and the re-routing of traffic. The potential presence of unknown buried sites of archaeological significance may require site-specific mitigation activities and/or monitoring measures during the construction phase.
During the operational phase, with the exception of visual intrusion of overpasses, the analysis showed that the proposed project results in more positive to neutral environmental impacts when compared with not implementing the project.
REHABILITATION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The main objectives of the rehabilitation of public transport component was bringing into service the 200 buses that were ordered in April 1996 and delivered in December 1996. The training of 500 to 600 people on a new technique of managing a transport system and the launching of 27 lines that form the Public Bus Transport Plan of Greater Beirut was a major task.
The total projected cost for three of the components of this project is $95 million. The grade separation component is projected to cost $65 million, with the traffic management component costing $25 million and the parking component costing $5 million.
In June 2002, the World Bank approved a US$65 million loan to be administered by the The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), an arm of the World Bank Group. At that point in time, The Government of Lebanon planned allocating $32 million of its own funds to the project.