ISLAMABAD, Sep 11: The Capital Development Authority is working on a proposal to establish “Islamabad ring road” to limit the flow of almost 500,000 light and heavy vehicles entering the city from Rawat and Kashmir Highway on daily basis.
Currently, heavy traffic coming from Peshawar and moving towards other parts of the country covers almost 40 kilometers within Islamabad to get exit through Rawat Toll Plaza. It comes from G. T. Road to Kashmir Highway and IJ Principal Road and take Islamabad Highway route to get exit.
The commuters coming through G. T. Road from Lahore and elsewhere also enter the city from Rawat and rejoin the GT Road using IJ Principal Road.
The chairman CDA Nadeem Hasan Asif when asked to comment on the planned ring road informed Dawn in his brief statement: “We did plan a ring road to limit massive air pollution because of movement of heavy traffic since the heavy and light vehicles are using the city’s roads and crossing the city on daily basis.”
“The plan to establish ring road in Islamabad is in the pipeline but can only share details once a project concept is complete relating to the ring road,” maintained the chairman Mr Asif.
One official of the authority added: “Because of the sensitive institutions located on GT Road in Saddar and cantonment areas of Rawalpindi the heavy traffic is not allowed to pass through Rawlapindi city.”
Meanwhile, background discussions with the CDA and senior cabinet division officials revealed that Islamabad ring road would be linked to Islamabad Motorway entry point or up to Chakri Interchange.
“But a decision is pending in this regard with the federal government,” said the CDA official.
A source in the CDA maintained that Islamabad Ring Road would be linked to planned Capital Highway – located close to M-I in Zone-II of the capital city.
“The Capital Highway will directly link the traffic coming from north (Peshawar on GT Road) to Sohan in Rawalpindi and onwards to GT Road at Rawat entry point of Islamabad,” maintained the source.
“The Capital Highway exists in the original master plan of the city and it terminates at Sohan in Rawalpindi bypassing cantonment areas,” added the source.
A cabinet division official not allowed to talk to media said that discussions on the project “are at initial stages.”
“The project is to be approved by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” said the official, without giving any set timeline and cost for the completion of the project.
He said that National Highway Authority and CDA would jointly complete their respective portions of construction of the ring road.
The heavy and light traffic, he said, were using local roads which had disturbed the inter-sector connectivity of the vehicles commuting within the residential sectors of the city on IJ Principal Road and Kashmir Highway.
“The ring road will lessen traveling time duration,” said the official. Currently a truck, he said, had to cover 40 kilometer distance in almost over one-and-half-hour (from Rawat to IJ Principal Road) as per the assessment of Islamabad Traffic Police,” said the official.
“If the project is initiated by the federal government we will be able to limit the damage caused to our highways in the city,” added the official.
The heavy traffic having no defined traveling weight damage the city’s roads and highways, maintained the official.
A CDA land directorate official of the authority said that “NHA or the CDA has to purchase land for construction of the ring road however, the land for Capital Highway is already in possession of the authority.”
“It depends on the engineering design of the road which will be clear once PC-I is complete,” maintained official of the authority.
Meanwhile, no official of the NHA was available to comment on the current developments.