Work on Pindi Ring Road project to start in March

Updated 08 Dec 2019

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The road would be 48.5 kilometres long to bypass thickly-populated areas of the city and cantonment. — Khurram Amin/File
The road would be 48.5 kilometres long to bypass thickly-populated areas of the city and cantonment. — Khurram Amin/File

RAWALPINDI: A Project Management Unit (PMU) to supervise construction of the Ring Road will be formed within a month so that work at the site would be launched in March.

This was stated by Commissioner Rawalpindi retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood during a meeting held to review the Ring Road, Daducha dam and Leh Expressway projects.

Zeeruk was hired three months ago to conduct a feasibility study and prepare PC-I of the Ring Road within six months. It is a joint venture of Zeeruk and Engineering General Consultant. The Punjab government has allocated Rs10 million for the feasibility study.

The commissioner asked the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning to start the process of hiring technical officials for the project.

The commissioner has been appointed as the project director while a deputy project director, two engineers, a structural engineer, a resettlement action planner and a land acquisition collector will be hired.

Project Management Unit to supervise construction work will be formed within a month, meeting told

Work on the project is expected to start in March end when the consultant firm will present PC-I and the government will start land acquisition.

The Ring Road will start from Chani Sher Alam near Rawat and end at Thalian near the motorway. The road would be 48.5 kilometres long to bypass thickly-populated areas of the city and cantonment.

A senior official of the RDA told Dawn that the meeting was informed that the provincial government had completed negotiations with the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for a loan to construct the Ring Road.

He said land procurement would be the responsibility of the government and the infrastructure would be constructed from the loan.

He said the consultant would also inform the government about advantages and disadvantages of public-private partnership mode of construction.

He said the PTI-led Punjab government was interested to launch the Ring Road and Leh Expressway projects.

The commissioner also approved award of consultancy to Nespak to conduct a study whether the Leh Expressway should be constructed on the private-public partnership mode or not.

Nespak will have to submit its report within five months.

Sources said RDA had made some changes to the project as Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad wanted to expand the road on both sides of Leh Nullah from Lahore High Court (LHC) to Kashmir Highway.

However, they said, it was not possible as RDA engineers had decided to start the road from LHC near Soan River and end at I.J. Principal Road near Kattarian.

The commissioner was informed that there was a need to make changes to the old plan announced by the railway minister.

Under the plan, the signal-free expressway will be constructed on both sides of Leh Nullah from Rawalpindi to Islamabad. The project would ease traffic congestion on both Murree Road and Airport Road by creating alternative routes between the twin cities.

The Leh Expressway project was launched in March 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf. The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) was awarded the contract which started the work but it was stopped after change of government in 2008.

When contacted, RDA Chief Engineer Amir Rasheed said the commissioner was briefed about the Ring Road and Leh Expressway projects.

He said the PMU for the Ring Road would be formed as per directives of the commissioner. He said for Leh Expressway project, Nespak was given the consultancy contract.

About Daducha Dam, he said a briefing would be arranged on the project in the next meeting.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019