Groundbreaking to widen Islamabad Highway on 31st
* Contract awarded to Macksons, company given 8 months to complete work
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to add a fourth lane on either side of the Islamabad Highway to ease traffic on the dual carriageway.
A senior CDA official told Daily Times that the stretch of the road from Faizabad to Koral would see two rigid lanes being reserved for heavy traffic and as many for light transport vehicles. Currently, the highway, which serves as one of the capital’s major and important roads, has three lanes on each side.
A groundbreaking for the widening and rehabilitation of this section is to be performed by CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari on Thursday (January 31), the official said.
An estimated 160,000 vehicles run the length of this portion of the road each day, making it the busiest in the Capital. “The traffic load has increased tremendously and it has now become imperative that it be widened,” he said.
Contract awarded: The contract for executing the project has been awarded to Macksons, the company, which was also involved in rehabilitation of highway’s Western carriageway from Rawat to Koral. Al-Khan Company, which was originally assigned the task, failed to complete work on time that resulted in the cancellation of its contract.
For the newest project, Macksons have been given eight months to complete work at a cost of approximately Rs 800 million. “The Faizabad-Koral section will have to be completed within that specified time because this is a road frequently used by VIPs,” the official said.
Heavy transport vehicles, mostly overloaded, have left some of the roads on the outer periphery of Islamabad furrowed that makes driving difficult, especially for smaller cars. Although the CDA plans to put in place a proper weighing system, no such facility exists at the moment. As it goes about improving the Islamabad Highway, the CDA for now has shelved plans to build underpasses along the road. “The matter did come up for discussions but I don’t think it is something that is immediately required,” said the official.
Meanwhile, work on extending Khayaban-e-Iqbal, which runs alongside the Margalla Hills, further up to Bari Imam has begun. “Once complete, it will serve as another point for going to Bari Imam,” he said.
Elsewhere, the CDA was given a presentation on the design of a proposed interchange at the 7th Avenue where it meets Khayaban-e-Suharwardy. As designs are discussed and planning done, the Authority is temporarily connecting the avenue with Kashmir Highway with the specific aim of reducing traffic congestion.
“This will help reduce traffic load at Zero Point as motorists will be able to reach Islamabad Highway through the Kashmir Highway in quick time,” the official said.
The consultants have also submitted a design for another interchange on the 9th Avenue where it touches the Kashmir Highway at Peshawar Morr. This project is among 15 the CDA has listed as priority projects.
The CDA has drawn public flak in recent months for failing to complete most of its road projects within the stipulated time. The Authority often passed the buck onto the contractors who in turn cited monsoon rains and problems in removal of underground service lines as the reason for the delay.
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