CDA Board set to approve Islamabad Expressway widening project today

Published May 21, 2022
Work underway near Korang along Islamabad Expressway. The CDA Board is expected to give a go-ahead to widen the PWD to G.T. Road section on Saturday.  — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
Work underway near Korang along Islamabad Expressway. The CDA Board is expected to give a go-ahead to widen the PWD to G.T. Road section on Saturday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Work on the much-delayed project of widening Islamabad Expressway from PWD to Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road will start soon as the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board is all set to give its consent to the project on Saturday (today).

The board will allow the civic agency to execute the projectthrough a government contractor under 42(F) rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), which allows government-owned organisations for direct contracting with other state-owned entities.

Talking to Dawn, CDA officials said there were several government-run construction companies, but the main firms were the Frontier Work Organisation (FWO) and National Logistic Cell (NLC), with one of them getting the contract of the project which is estimated to cost Rs11 billion.

Besides widening of the expressway, construction of Sohan bridge also falls in this project. The FWO and NLC are already engaged in CDA’s major construction works.

Road to be widened from PWD to G.T. Road; FWO, NLC in the running for contract; summary of blue, green line metros to be taken up today

“Yes, the board will take up the expressway widening project in Saturday’s meeting. We want to get this project done through a government firm for smooth and timely completion,” CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed told Dawn.

He said the CDA had already built several interchanges and done some interventions for ensuring smooth flow of traffic on the expressway, but they have not been of much use. He said now the civic agency had reached a conclusion that there was no permanent solution to resolving traffic congestion on the expressway except to widen the entire artery till G.T. Road.

“Therefore, we have decided to start this project to provide relief to people, who have been facing traffic congestion on this road since long. Once completed, it will be highly beneficial to the commuters,” he said, adding that the CDA had no issue of funds, and after the board’s approval, work on the project would start immediately.

The road, which starts from Faisal Mosque, has already been widened till Koral and PWD stop. After PWD, traffic gets congested all of a sudden because the road from this point onwards narrows to two lanes. At present the FWO is executing a project under which 2km road from PWD to Korang Bridge would be widened.

According to sources, under the new contract, the CDA will engage a government contractor for construction of road from Korang Bridge to G.T. Road.

The expressway caters to both local and heavy traffic, particularly plying between the capital and Lahore. It is also an important link between Punjab, Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it connects with G.T. Road at Rawat.

Blue, green line bus service

The CDA Board will take up a summary seeking approval of two new routes – blue and green lines – for the metro bus service.

The blue line will start from Gulberg underpass expressway to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (20km) that will merge with Rawalpindi-Islamabad and Airport metros, whereas, the green line metro will commence short of Bhara Kahu and end at Pims stop after covering a distance of 15km. These two metro bus services will be linked with Rawalpindi-Islamabad (red line) and airport (orange line) metros.

The proposed fare of these two metro service is Rs50. The CDA officials said both metro bus services would start within 45 days under an interim setup while proper bus stations would be built in 90 days.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2022

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