RAWALPINDI: Kutchery Chowk expansion and signal-free corridor from Kutchery Chowk to Pirwadhai Mor project is awaiting approval from the Punjab Planning and Development Department.

Former caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi had laid the foundation stone of the project on Feb 3 without the approval of the Planning and Development Department. However, the PC-I was prepared after the foundation stone was laid.

A senior official of the district administration told Dawn that the Communication and Works Department had sent PC-I for signal-free corridor and expansion of Kutchery Chowk worth Rs8.2 billion to Punjab Planning and Development Department before Eidul Fitr.

He said the project was in its initial phase and would likely be started next fiscal year.

Project is in initial phase, expected to start next fiscal year

He said last year, the Punjab government had approved the project to manage the traffic at Kutchery Chowk but in October it dropped the plan and asked the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) to make a new plan to expand the roads sans flyover and underpass.

However, in February this year, the caretaker government in Punjab handed over the project to Communication and Works Department.

The official said the Communication and Works Department team conducted a new survey of the area and prepared a new PC-I and submitted it to the Punjab Planning and Development Department for approval.

According to the initial plan, 13 kanals and 40 marlas of land of Fatima Jinnah Women University building will be acquired, along with the land of former President House, Commissioner Office, Excise and Taxation Office building, two private houses and military land.

He said in the initial plan it estimated the cost of the project at Rs8.2 billion and it will have a total length of 7.6 kilometres.

He said as per the initial plan, the signal-free corridor would be constructed from Kutchery Chowk to Pirwadhai Mor.

“Three underpasses will be constructed on The Mall and Peshawar Road at Pearl Continental Hotel Chowk, General Post Office Chowk and Qasim Market in front of Race Course while two protected U-turns will be built under the project at Chairing Cross Square and Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC).

He said that the PC-I had been sent to Planning and Development Department after Communication and Works Department submitted the survey report.

He said that the travelling time on Peshawar Road from Katcheri and Nur Khan Airbase was more than one hour and the government had decided to reduce it to 20 minutes by constructing signal free corridor.

He said that the cantonment authorities wanted to run public transport on the route from Saddar to Motorway and New Islamabad Airport once the project is completed.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Dr Hassan Waqar Cheema said that the work on the project would be started as soon as the PC-I is approved as first the district administration would start acquiring land.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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