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Expressway extension to G.T. Road could be delayed for years

Updated June 12, 2019

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Govt approves four-lane flyover in Bhara Kahu. — Dawn/File
Govt approves four-lane flyover in Bhara Kahu. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: The extension of Islamabad Expressway from Koral to the G.T. Road may be delayed for years, as the government has only allocated Rs425 million in the upcoming fiscal year for this Rs10 billion project.

According to the PC-IU, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) will expand the existing four lanes of the expressway from Koral to Naval Anchorage to eight, by adding two rigid lanes and rehabilitating flexible lanes.

Three bridges, at Korang, Bhinder and the railway stop, will also be built along with service roads.

Govt approves four-lane flyover in Bhara Kahu

According to budgetary documents, of the total Rs10bn, the government has allocated the project Rs425m for the 2019-20fiscal year.

The widening of the expressway was inaugurated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2015.

In the first phase of the project, the road was widened from Zero Point to Faizanabad, and then up to Koral. Three interchanges were also constructed at Sohan, Koral and Khana to make the highway signal free.

The previous government included the project in the 2018-19 Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) last year, and allocated Rs7bn for it, adding that Rs2.75bn was to be set aside in the 2019-20 PSDP.

The PTI, however, dropped the project from the 2018-19 PSDP and only allocated Rs425m in the upcoming fiscal year, suggesting that the project will be delayed several years.

“If this Rs425m is released in the next fiscal year, we will at least be able to start the project,” said a CDA official who asked not to be named.

Commuting between Koral and the G.T. Road via the expressway has become difficult, as traffic is stalled for hours due to the overwhelming number of vehicles.

This is an inter-provincial road that also sees truck and bus traffic. In addition, many housing societies have been established in the last 15 years on either side of the expressway.

The government has approved the construction of a four-lane flyover in Bhara Kahu, where commuters regularly face traffic congestion.

The Rs3bn project will be executed by the National Highway Authority, and Rs500m has been earmarked for it for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

In addition, the government has earmarked Rs425m for the Korang River and Rawal Lake water treatment project, Rs150m for roads and pavements in the Islamabad Capital Territory and Rs50m for the capital’s sewerage system and solid waste management.

Rs350m has been allocated for a project for sewerage, sanitation and water supply in the ICT area, Rs100m has been earmarked for water supply schemes in Islamabad and Rs25m has been allocated for street pavement in Nai Abadi Sohan and Madni Colony each.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019