ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: Inconvenience to motorists on Zero Point Interchange (ZPI) is expected to be over in a month with completion of its entire construction work.
“The last loop of the interchange will be completed in one month,” project director of ZPI Mumtaz Hussain told Dawn on Sunday.
The official said reinforcement work of the cliff where National Monument was located, and carpeting of the loop’s road would be completed soon after which motorists would have no trouble driving across the interchange.
The under-construction loop would provide a way to the traffic coming from Faisal Mosque to reach Kashmir Highway and across Islamabad Highway, the official said. Some of the motorists earlier complained that they faced trouble while driving on the interchange especially when they failed to find a way to cross Islamabad Highway while coming from Faisal Mosque and Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy (from CDA headquarters).
Under reinforcement work, long steel bars have been drilled into the cliff where National Monument is located.
The National Monument on the cliff that was constructed on the desire of former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 at a cost of Rs700 million was said to be the main hurdle in the construction of the loop and thus the design of the interchange was modified and the size of the loop was also reduced.
“Due to presence of the monument the loop is being constructed on the lower side of the cliff where cutting and excavation had made it vulnerable to land sliding,” the official said.
Although the interchange has formally been inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in July, the process of compaction and reinforcement of hills has already taken four months.
Meanwhile, the civic body sought approval of the Planning Commission regarding some additional work which has been clubbed with the original work of the interchange. Under the new estimates sent to the planning commission the same contractor of the ZPI, Maqbool Associates will construct 2km additional portion of Kashmir Highway on each side of the interchange.
That would enhance the cost of the project by Rs450 million.
The ZPI project formally started in September 2009, however, it faced delays because the design had to be revised on several occasions.
On the other hand Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating alleged irregularities in ZPI project.
Officials of the CDA and construction firm Maqbool Associates have been summoned in the FIA office repeatedly for the last three weeks for investigation but so far the agency could not find anything wrong.
The initial cost of the project was Rs2 billion but its scope of work was enhanced few months ago and its cost went up to Rs4 billion.