ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials have said the project for the expansion of the seven-kilometre patch of the Expressway from PWD to Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road has kicked off, with clearing and grubbing work along the site of the construction already underway.
According to the officials, after the clearing and grubbing which will likely be completed within two weeks, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), the contractor, will start construction work to widen the busy artery.
In July this year, the CDA board accepted a bid of around Rs11 billion by the FWO for expanding the seven kilometres patch of the Expressway to four lanes from the existing two lanes. It also includes the expansion of the Sohan bridge; the Bindar bridge and the underpass on the Japan Road are also a part of this project. According to the PC-I of the project, it will be completed in 18 months.
Sources said in September this year, the CDA issued a commencement letter to the contractor, which was the main document to start the project. Subsequently, the contractor mobilised its machinery and set up a camp office at the site before starting the initial work.
They said cleaning work on both sides of the Expressway was started two weeks ago and would likely be completed in the next two weeks.
The officials said the CDA management had been asking the contractor to complete the road expansion project within six months and expansion of the Sohan bridge and construction of the Bindar Bridge may be started after the expansion of the road.
The Expressway has already been widened till Koral and currently from Korang to the PWD stop, a patch of two kilometres is being broadened through a separate project. This project would likely be completed in the next four months.
After the PWD, the four-lane Expressway narrows down to two lanes, causing bottlenecks and disrupting traffic on almost a daily basis. It may be noted that the Expressway is one of the main roads of the federal capital and caters to both light and heavy traffic, particularly plying between Islamabad and Lahore. Its widening was announced many times in the past and finally, in July this year, the CDA board approved the bid to award the project.
On the other hand, a project for widening the two-lane Korang Bridge on the Expressway has been facing delays in its completion. This project was supposed to be completed in September last year, but the construction firm failed to meet the deadline and only half of the work was completed by the contractor.
Later on, the construction firm disassociated itself from the project, citing an increase in the cost of the construction material. Resultantly, the CDA requested the FWO to complete the reminder work. It is expected that by the end of December, this project would be completed.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022
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