Expressway expansion likely to miss deadline

Published December 9, 2023
Work continues between PWD Interchange and Naval Anchorage on Islamabad Expressway. The deadline for the project’s completion has been set at March next year, which is unlikely to be met. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
Work continues between PWD Interchange and Naval Anchorage on Islamabad Expressway. The deadline for the project’s completion has been set at March next year, which is unlikely to be met. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: It seems the ongoing work on the expansion of Islamabad Expressway will miss the March 24 deadline as 40pc work on the project remains incomplete. However, some Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials were confident that the project would be completed by March provided smooth flow of funding was ensured.

According to a source, “the way the project was progressing, it was unlikely that expansion work would be completed by June next year let alone March. It will be an achievement for the CDA if the project is completed within the deadline”.

In September 2022, the civic agency awarded the contract worth Rs10.9 billion for the rehabilitation and expansion of the seven-kilometre portion of the expressway from PWD Interchange to G.T. Road in Rawat, including Bhandhar Bridge, Japan Road underpass and Soan Bridge.

The project being executed by the Frontier Work Organisation (FWO) was supposed to be completed in 18 months - March 20, 2024.

40pc work on project from PWD Interchange to G.T. Road still pending, official says

However, sources said so far 60pc work had been completed and the remaining work might not be finished in three months. Under the project, two rigid and two flexible lanes were being constructed on each side of the expressway. Earlier, the road had only two lanes on each side.

After PWD, the four-lane expressway narrowed down to two lanes causing bottlenecks, disrupting traffic on a daily basis.

The expressway is one of the main roads in the federal capital and caters to both light and heavy traffic, particularly between Islamabad and Lahore. Its widening from PWD to G.T. Road had been announced many times but it was formally started last year.

Speaking to Dawn, CDA officials claimed that work would be completed by March.

“I do agree 40pc work is pending, but let me make it clear work on the major portion of the road is completed. Nowadays we are focusing on three main bridges of the project,” said an official, adding that work on around 4km portion of the road - from G.T. Road to Kak Pul - had been completed while in the remaining area it was in progress in patches.

Meanwhile, under another project worth Rs2 billion, the CDA recently completed the 2km portion of the expressway from Korang Bridge to PWD Interchange. However, work on the expansion of the railway bridge near the PWD Interchange is yet to be completed.

The project was supposed to be completed in June this year, however, its deadline was extended.

“Railway bridge eastern side has been completed and now we are focusing on the western side,” said an engineer, expressing the hope that work would be completed in three months.

Ismail Khan, a cab driver, said motorists had been facing traffic mess for the last over two years because of the ongoing construction work.

“Earlier, we used to face traffic congestion because of the narrow road, but for the last two years, the gridlocks are a result of the construction work. We appeal to the CDA to complete work on urgent basis to provide relief to the commuters,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2023

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