Ministry seeks progress report on Margalla Avenue-M1 link road

Published March 2, 2024
A file photo of Margalla Avenue.
A file photo of Margalla Avenue.

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior has sought a progress report from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on the proposed road to link Margalla Avenue with Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M1).

Sources told Dawn that through an official letter dated February 26, CDA had been directed to share the updated progress on the project with the ministry. They said the government wanted to get the road constructed as soon as possible.

The portion of the road will ultimately be linked with the Rawalpindi Ring Road. The letter said, “Keeping in mind the original alignment of Margalla Highway, part of Ring Road falling in Islamabad capital territory shall be acquired and developed by the CDA from its own resources. This will be connected with Rawalpindi Ring Road leading to MI eventually. CDA will acquire right of way for the road in Zone-2 for development and beyond the right of way the area will be fenced to make it controlled access.”

Out of the total 3.4 km road portion, 1.8 km falls in Rawalpindi while 1.6 km falls in Islamabad which will be constructed by the CDA.

Acquisition of land yet not started which is prerequisite to commence work, says CDA official

When contacted, an official of the CDA said after approving PC-I, the CDA had prequalified nine of a total of 21 construction firms for the project. However, he said, the acquisition of land had not yet been started, which was a prerequisite for starting the construction work. Another official, however, said the CDA was working to start land acquisition soon.

The project worth Rs5.45 billion (construction and land acquisition) was approved by the civic body in August last year and once started work on it would be completed in eight months.

According to a working paper of the CDA, the maximum benefit from Margalla Avenue cannot be achieved until the road was linked to M-1. The project comprises a six-lane road facility and aims at providing an alternative route for commuters travelling to Islamabad from G.T. Road (N-5) and vice versa.

In June, the federal government had given the go-ahead to the National Highway Authority (NHA) to construct the road in the limits of Rawalpindi.

In 2021, the then prime minister, Imran Khan, had directed the CDA to develop the road that fell within the limits of Islamabad whereas the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) was asked to carry out work on the portion that fell in their jurisdiction. However, the PDM government tasked the NHA to construct the road falling in Rawalpindi.

The Margalla Avenue, which starts at E-11 and culminates at GT Road in Sangjani, will be linked with the new portion of the five-km-long road.

However, on the right side of the portion of the road constructed from E-11 to GT Road from E-11, work on fencing is yet to be completed. Moreover, many built-up structures are also present on the right of way of the road.

“After providing proper access to locals, the remaining area of the road should be properly fenced to restrict movement of wildlife and avoid accidents,” said an official.

He said Margalla Road was the principal road and its right of way was 600 feet but the CDA was yet to decide on the built-up structures falling in the heart of the alignment of the road.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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