ISLAMABAD-The ongoing confusion on part of the federal government regarding execution model for the expansion and widening of Islamabad Expressway would further delay the project.

At present, the government is confused whether the project should be initiated through government funding or with the resources of private sector as on one side the government has included the project in Public Sector Development Program Plus (PSDP-Plus) while on the other side the same project is going to be placed in next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for its approval.

However, reliable sources inside the authority informed that the federal government is uncertain about the mode to be adopted for the completion of this project. They said it is beyond understanding that why the government is taking dual approach regarding this project.

The original cost of said project was around Rs10 billion, however, the government wants to complete it with Rs45 billion on public-private partnership mode.

The federal government wants to lease out the right of the way of Islamabad Expressway to generate funding to make this project viable. However, the city managers are reluctant to complete this project on public-private partnership mode as they are of the view that the completion of project on such a high cost is not viable option and it should be completed with government funding.

They argued that a project worth Rs10 billion could not be completed on public-private mode by spending Rs45 billion.

However, well-placed sources inside the authority claimed that the federal government is sticking with the idea and pushing CDA to prepare feasibility and design of said project for public-private partnership mode.

Sources informed that CDA had already conveyed to the federal government that it does not have the required expertise to initiate such project on public-private partnership mode and also requested National Highway Authority (NHA) through a letter to help city managers in this regard. However, NHA did not respond to the letter written by the Chairman CDA so far.

Earlier, after being neglected in federal budget and a cold response received from the private housing societies, the incumbent management of CDA had decided in September 2019 to develop Korang Bridge and an underpass at PWD as part of Islamabad Expressway Signal Free Corridor from its own resources.

The CDA had requested the federal government to allow the civic body for building aforementioned infrastructures with its own resources. However, the response of the said correspondence is yet to be received. Sources informed that the federal government is reluctant to allow CDA to do these projects with its own resources as the civic body has not only sought a go ahead but also requested for financial adjustment on later stages against these projects.

The signal-free corridor project was a brainchild of previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and it was divided into two portions, from Zero Point to Koral and Koral to Rawat.

The first portion has already been completed with construction of four interchanges at I-8, Sohan, Khanna and Koral , but the second portion leading towards Rawat was facing delays due to lack of funding as earlier the civic body had declined to fund it while the project could not get required funds in PSDP for the year 2019-20 as well.

The previous government had allocated Rs7 billion in Public Sector Development Programme 2018-19 for the project. However, it was the incumbent government, which excluded the project while revising the PSDP.

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