After seven years, work on Margalla Road construction to begin

Published January 27, 2021
Under the project that started in 2012, an 8.5km portion of Margalla Road is to be constructed. — File photo
Under the project that started in 2012, an 8.5km portion of Margalla Road is to be constructed. — File photo
  • Legal hitches between contractor, CDA removed
  • Road to cater to C-13, C-14, C-15, C-16 sectors

ISLAMABAD: After a hiatus of seven long years, Capital Development Authority (CDA) has finally resolved a dispute with a previous contractor to pave the way towards restarting the stalled project of construction of a road from G.T. Road to D-12.

“The chronic dispute [between CDA and the contractor] has been settled; now we are going to award a new contract through competitive process,” said Director Road (North) Rana Tariq, adding that the civic body was now finalising the new estimate and hopefully the contract would be awarded next month.

The project, worth Rs588 million was started in 2012, that includes construction of an 8.5km portion of Margalla Road.

It was to be completed in 2013, however, due to various reasons including possession of land in a portion, the contractor after doing base work, abandoned the project and both parties – the CDA and contractor – started blaming each other for the delay.

The contractor even filed a case against CDA under idle and delay charges while the civic authority stopped paying him further.

The arbitrator had decided in favour of the contractor, but CDA filed a case against the arbitrator’s decision and both parties remained stuck in litigation for years.

However, sources said the CDA management and contractor finally opted for an out-of-court settlement and it was decided that the contractor would not be paid against any delay charges, but CDA would release the original pending dues.

“It was a win win deal for both parties, as the contractor despite a seven-year dispute could not get the amount, while our road project had been stalled; so now we are free to award new contract,” said a CDA engineer, adding that four of the authority’s sectors C-13, C-14, C-15 and C-16 also depend on this road.

He said the contract for work on 6.5km of the road will be awarded while the authority will realign the remaining 2km because of the presence of a century-old graveyard on that portion, before beginning work on construction.

According to the city’s master plan, the proposed Margalla Road passes by the foothills of G.T. Road till the end of Bhara Kahu but it could not be constructed. People wrongly refer to Khayaban-i-Iqbal as Margalla Road.

From D-12 till Constitution Avenue, the existing Khayaban-i-Iqbal, through expansion and addition of interchanges, could serve the purpose of Margalla Road, sources said, adding base and earth work of another portion of Margalla Road - from Constitution Avenue till Bari Imam - was done 15 years ago, but further work on that too was abandoned.

In the second phase of the road project, they added, CDA will construct the road from Constitution Avenue till Bhara Kahu and for this purpose, talks are underway with a consultant.

“We want to hire services of the army’s Engineering and Chief Branch in designing the feasibility study of this portion of the road,” the engineer said, adding CDA will make an effort towards linking it to Satra Meel, so it could bypass through Bhara Kahu.

He said the federal government was pushing the CDA to work on this project because people have been suffering due to traffic load on Srinagar Highway and other roads.

“Once these two phases of Margalla Road are constructed, traffic coming from the Kashmir, Motorway and New Airport will be able to use it as a bypass road,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2021

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