RAWALPINDI, Jan 5: The newly-constructed Sixth Road Flyover was opened for traffic on Saturday evening.
Though the local administration wanted to wait for the return of PML-N MNA Hanif Abbasi from Saudi Arabia to inaugurate the flyover, the National Logistics Cell (NLC) managed its opening so that it could repair the service roads without any hindrance.
Sardar Naseem, the president of the party’s city chapter, MPA Raja Hanif Advocate and officials of the communication and works department and the NLC were present when the traffic was allowed to pass on the flyover at 4:20pm.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will formally inaugurate the bridge next week.
It may be recalled that the chief minister had laid the foundation of the flyover on September 25. The 248-metre-long bridge with 202-metre ramp has been constructed at a cost of Rs1.017 billion. This is the second flyover in the city and on Benazir Bhutto Road after the one built at Chandni Chowk.
“The construction work was completed two days back and the NLC requested the C&W department to open it. However, the department refused saying the provincial government’s consent was required,” an official of the department told Dawn.
He said the department stopped the NLC from opening the bridge by parking its tractors on it. Upon this, he added, the NLC authorities contacted the CM secretariat and got the permission for its opening.
A senior leader of the PML-N requesting not to be named said MNA Abbasi had managed to convince the chief minister not to inaugurate the flyover until he returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah by January 9.
The flyover is constructed in the constituency of NA-56 from where Hanif Abbasi was elected. “He (Hanif Abbasi) wanted to cash in on the project as the elections are approaching,” he added.
“The bridge was completed on Friday and the construction company wanted to repair the service roads otherwise it will be difficult for it to move the machinery to the site. There was no issue between the company and the local administration over the opening of the flyover,” said Brig Mohammad Shahid of the NLC while talking to Dawn.
When contacted, Jamshaid Khan, an engineer of the C&W department, claimed that the flyover’s opening was never stopped but the construction work was completed on Saturday morning.
However, Commissioner Imdadullah Bosal said the construction company had recommended opening of the bridge while the C&W department had sought some time.
“The C&W department wanted to complete the remaining work without any hurdle so it had delayed the opening of the bridge,” he said.
“The lighting system, greenbelts beneath the bridge, patchwork and the construction of service roads along the bridge will take some time,” he said.
However, he added, the remaining work would be complete before the formal inauguration of the flyover.