ISLAMABAD: The daily commuters on Thursday made a passionate appeal to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his intervention to pace up the ongoing expansion work on Islamabad Expressway Project to provide them a stress-free travel.
The residents of various housing societies adjacent to Islamabad Expressway daily face gridlock for hours due to unfinished PWD interchange and expansion of Korang Bridge as the contractors Maqbool Associates and Calson left the project incomplete, saying they were unable to carry out the project due to material’s enhanced cost. Travelling on the PWD underpass was even a misery after sunset as the whole area plunges into darkness due to absence of proper lightening system. Only polls have been erected sans any connection of electricity.
The project was awarded to a joint venture of Maqbool Associates and Calson in June 2020. However, the contractor stopped the work on the project demanding extra money.
The commuters sought Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s special attention towards the slow pace of work on Korang bridge expansion and suspension of work on Rs420 million PWD underpass.
” We expect the prime minister like other development projects would also intervene to pace it up to ensure hassle-free traveling for hundreds of thousands of daily travellers on country’s one of the busiest artery which accommodates almost 4,20,000 daily,”said Zahoor Ahmed a daily commuter on Expressway.
“The incomplete underpass and heaps of garbage around give commuters an ugly look also exposing them to health hazards as road beautification that adds trees and landscaping was still pending”, said Rehan a frequent commuter who travels from Blue Area to Media Town vice versa daily on the route.
When contacted CDA official said the civic authority was already working on expansion of Islamabad Expressway and different portions of this busy road would be completed in different phases.
The officer said the contractor had left the work saying that due to increase in the price of construction material, particularly steel, his buying capacity was badly affected, and he was unable to carry out the project.
The officer admitted the delay in Korang Bridge expansion and said the contractor had already been served notice to complete the project in stipulated time otherwise pay the due damages.
“We are mulling over various options for expediting the project, the decision on fate of the project would be determined soon, One thing is clear, the authority wants this project completed at the earliest and it can also go for re-tendering, if the need arises,” the officer maintained.
It merits mentioning that Maqbool and Calsons had not yet completed its another project Rawal Dam interchange despite being given extended time by the civic body.
The Signal Free Corridor from Zero Point to Rawat was PML-N’s flagship and mega project the first phase of which was completed from Zero Point to Faizabad in their previous tenure.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government could not provide adequate funds for the project which caused inordinate delay, a source in the civic body .
A senior official of CDA while divulging details over expansion of road from PWD to T-Chowk, said the Project Concept-I of Rs8.5 billion have been prepared in which two bridges would also be constructed at Naval Anchorage and Kak Pul.
The CDA was in contact with the federal government to secure funding from the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in the upcoming financial year so that work on the project can be launched at the stipulated time-frame.