ISLAMABAD - After getting cold response from federal government, the city managers are mulling to go on second option to ease the travelling on Islamabad Expressway from Koral Chowk to G.T. road with the help of private housing societies.

The said portion of Islamabad Expressway is a picture of neglect and poor performance of government due to its dilapidated condition. A series of potholes and craters has turned the road into a permanent nuisance for commuters while daily traffic congestion is a mental torture for routine travellers.

In the first phase, the Expressway has been made signal free and widened from Zero Point to Koral with CDA’s own funding but when it came to executing the same project up to the GT Road, the civic body backtracked and excused to further fund the project.

The previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had decided to continue the project with the funding of federal government by including the project worth of Rs10.7 billion in to the PSDP 2018-19. An amount of Rs7bn had been allocated for the project in the PSDP 2018-19 and decided to provide Rs2.75bn in PSDP 2019-20.

However, the PTI decided to stop the project and excluded it from PSDP in a revised PSDP 2018-19 and asked CDA to execute the project with its own funding.

On the other side, the financial managers of the CDA were also against the idea to launch the project with indigenous funding with an argument that the said road is being used as a bypass to Rawalpindi city for inter provincial traffic so federal government should fund the project instead of CDA.

Nowadays, the federal government in general while the Capital Development Authority in particular are under fire on social media as well as on Prime Minister’s portal where most of the people are criticising them for shelving this important project. Sources informed that CDA receives hundreds of complaints regarding Islamabad Express Highway each month.

Sources inside the civic body informed that due to the continuous pressure on the top management of CDA, they are now considering the second option to sensitise the housing societies located on both sides of Islamabad Expressway to built underpass by their own cost.

According to an approved plan in second phase, the highway was to be expanded from Koral to Naval Anchorage – a 5-kilometre stretch in first package – while the 7 kilometres distance from Naval Anchorage to GT Road in Rawat in the second package. 

It was decided that existing 4 lanes from Koral Interchange to GT Road would be increased up to 8 lanes by adding two rigid lanes and rehabilitating the flexible lanes. Three bridges – at Korang, Bhinder and the Railway stop – were also a part of the approved project in addition to the service roads.

Two housing societies Gulbarg and Navel Anchorage have already constructed their interchanges with the approval of CDA and the city managers are now trying to bring Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Bahria Town, Soan Garden and River Gardan on board to built their interchanges to at least make the highway completely signal free.

A senior officer informed that if the authority will successfully manage to agree said schemes to share the burden then three bridges could be constructed by indigenous funding of CDA.

When contacted the Chief Commissioner Islamabad and CDA chairman Amir Ali Ahmed said: “It is too early to say something but we are working on multiple proposals including this one and hopefully we will reach to a conclusion within month or two.”

However, well-placed sources inside the planning wing are of different view as they think that only DHA can be pushed to construct the interchange because rest of the housing societies have already sold their plots and they are not in a position to invest such a huge amount.

In case of Bahria Town, it was earlier in negotiations with civic body to finance an interchange at PWD crossing but later lost the interest because its phase I to VI have already been sold for which Bahira Town was required the interchange.