RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government will provide Rs8 billion to the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) in the fiscal year 2023-24 for the construction of the 22-km-long signal-free corridor from Ammar Chowk to the motorway.

A senior official of the RDA told Dawn that the district and garrison administrations had decided to construct the signal-free corridor to reduce the travel time to Islamabad International Airport (IIA) and the motorway.

“Earlier, the RDA had planned to make the signal-free road from Koral Chowk to the Motorway Chowk via Peshawar Road, but later it changed the plan. Now Ammar Chowk will be the starting point of the corridor.”

He said the Punjab government would provide Rs8 billion for the project after completing a feasibility study. Though a formal feasibility study will be held in July, the RDA has conducted a survey of the area and finalised an initial plan.

The official said the travelling time to Peshawar Road from Kutchery and Nur Khan Airbase was more than an hour and the government had decided to reduce it to 20 minutes through the construction of the signal-free corridor.

RDA launches homework for feasibility study of corridor from Ammar Chowk to Motorway Chowk, says official

He said the cantonment authorities wanted to run public transport on the route from Saddar to the motorway and the IIA. They would start the programme after completing the corridor project.

He said in 2017 the then PML-N government in Punjab had planned to start a metro bus route from Kutchery Chowk to the motorway but could not launch the project. However, he said, after consultation with the garrison authorities, the provincial government had now decided to launch work on the signal-free corridor.

In the initial plan, underpasses will be construct on the Mall in front of Pearl Continental Hotel, General Headquarters (GHQ) Chowk, General Post Office Chowk and the Military Hospital Chowk. A flyover will be constructed at Ammar Chowk and Qasim Market.

Another senior official said an additional flyover will be constructed at Ammar Chowk after getting clearance from the garrison authorities. He said earlier a flyover was added to the Ammar Chowk Remodeling project but later the proposal was dropped.

When contacted, RDA Director General Saif Anwar Jappa said the authority had started homework for the feasibility study of the signal-free corridor from Ammar Chowk to Motorway Chowk, adding Rs80 million would be spent on it.

He said the project would provide opportunity to the travelers from Islamabad and Rawalpindi to reach the IIA via the motorway without wasting time.

He said a bus service was also likely to start for the airport from the garrison city. He said the RDA had also prepared a new plan to make Liaquat Bagh Chowk signal free for which an underpass will be constructed on Murree Road in front of Liaquat Bagh.

He said local residents had been demanding an end gridlocks at Liaquat Bagh Chowk, especially toward Raja Bazaar. He said RDA had prepared an initial plan and sent it to the Punjab government for final approval. It is likely to reflect in the new annual development programme of the government, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2023

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