ISLAMABAD: The Karachi-based company, which had built the Zero Point Interchange, is back in the town as it won all three mega road projects on Thursday.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Thursday opened financial bids for the construction of Rawal Dam Interchange, Korang Bridge and PWD Underpass on Islamabad Expressway.

“Maqbool Associates, which had built Zero Point Interchange, in a joint venture with Calson, won all the contracts today by submitting lowest bids,” said an official of the CDA.

Member planning and engineering Dr Shahid Mahmood said the JV of the two companies turned to be the lowest bidders for all the three projects. He said after completing formalities and legal procedures, the work will be awarded soon.

The CDA received bids worth Rs1.17 billion for the construction of Rawal Dam Interchange, (11pc below the estimate), Rs628.5 million for Korang Bridge (17pc below) and Rs420 million (19pc below) for the PWD Underpass from the JV of Maqbool Associates and Calson.

Offers lowest bids for construction of Rawal Dam Interchange, Korang Bridge and PWD Underpass

“All these projects are important to ensure smooth flow of traffic. The expansion of Rawal Dam Chowk is highly important as Park Road and Murree Road have been facing growing traffic load for many years because of the increase in the population of adjoining areas. Several educational institutions are also located on this road that resulted in the increase of traffic,” said the CDA member.

The expansion of Korang Bridge and PWD Underpass will also ease traffic congestion on the expressway.

The expressway is one of the busiest roads in Rawalpindi and Islamabad because it caters to both local and heavy traffic, particularly to and from Lahore and other part of Punjab, KP and Kashmir. However, during the last many years, no focus was paid on its rehabilitation and expansion from Koral to GT Road.

Though the portion of the artery from Faisal Mosque to Koral Chowk has been expanded, the portion from Koral to GT Road is riddled with pavement distress and failure, including heavy settlements, ruts and corrugation.

Up to Koral Chowk, it is a five-lane road but transforms suddenly into a two-lane road near Koral, making it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles when they face a major bottleneck at Korang Bridge. However, now this bridge will be expanded to five-lane to ease the traffic flow.

Motorists face a second major bottleneck at PWD stop where now an underpass will be constructed. “We are hopeful that up to 60pc traffic problems on the expressway will be solved with the construction of the underpass and the expansion of Korang Bridge,” the member said.

The two projects on the expressway will be executed through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) as for the financial year 2020-21 the government has allocated Rs800 million for the expansion of Korang Bridge and the PWD Underpass against the total cost of Rs1625 million.

The Rawal Dam Interchange project will be executed through CDA’s own funding.

CDA officials said several companies took part in the bidding for the three projects. They said for the Rawal Dam project, the JV submitted Rs1.117 billion while National Logistics Cell (NLC) submitted a bid of Rs1.248 billion and Makson Rs1.133 billion.

Similarly, for the Korang Bridge, the JV submitted Rs628.5 million, NLC Rs750.24 million and Makson and ZKB Rs638.71 million and 695.76 million, respectively.

For the PWD Underpass, the JV submitted a Rs420 million bid, NLC Rs482 million and Makson Rs427 million while ZKB and Habib construction companies submitted Rs456 and Rs539 million bids, respectively.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2020