ISLAMABAD-Initiated under political pressure and having poor planning, the Margalla Avenue is yet to be completed by the Capital Development Authority besides passage of over six years.

Originally, Margalla Avenue was planned to be started from GT passing alongside the Margalla Hills, then run backside of the red zone and then to join the MurreeRoad at BharaKahuJugi stop .

The project was envisioned as a bypass for commuters heading towards Murree and Kashmir from the GT road while it could also reduce the traffic load on Kashmir Highway.

A nine kilometre portion of Margalla Avenue was started in 2012 with a deadline to complete in June 2013.However, it remains unfinished apparently due to disinterest on part of the city managers.

The project was mainly delayed when CDA remained unable to get cleared its alignment on certain portions. The poor planning of this project can be measuredfrom the fact that the CDA was unable to build a portion of the road near Shah Allah Ditta due to a centuries old graveyard, a shrine and the alignment of the road was unclear.

According to senior officers of the engineering wing of CDA, the city managers should have cleared the alignment before the project began, but the authority initiated it in haste.

Resultantly, the nine kilometre road between the GT Road and D-12 has remained incomplete, with 51 per cent of the work finished.

Sources inside the CDA claim that even if the said portion up to D-12 was completed, it could be connected to Khayaban-i-Iqbal, commonly known as Margalla Road, to get to Parliament House from where it would be connected to Murree Road via Bari Imam.

The official said a 2km portion of Margalla Road north of Constitution Avenue towards Bari Imam has already been built but has been abandoned for years because some of the work remains unfinished.

CDA officials said one of the main reasons for the delay in the completion of Margalla Avenue between the GT Road and D-12 is a dispute between the contractor and the CDA.

When work was stopped a few years ago, the contractor had filed a case against the CDA arguing that the CDA was responsible for clearing the land for the construction of the road and should therefore pay the contractor. The CDA has claimed the contract was cancelled for other technical reasons.

A court arbitrator fined the CDA Rs170 million, which the authority challenged in the Islamabad High Court.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali when questioned informed that the authority had constituted a committee to negotiate with contractors and probably the matter would be resolved within few weeks.

The CDA awarded Rs588m contract for the project – 21 per cent below its estimated cost – but CDA officials said it was started in haste due to political pressure before necessary steps, such as land acquisition in some pockets of alignments, were completed.

The CDA had proposed changing the alignment of the road in an area where there was a bottleneck a few years ago, but sources said no serious efforts were made to remove the hindrance.

A senior officer of the authority on the condition of anonymity has informed that the existing contractor is going to be disengaged from the project and once settlement with him would be done, the authority is fully interested to take up this project again with proper planning.

He informed that now this time the authority is going to do proper survey of road alignment in next few months and once the planning would be completed, the whole Margalla Avenue would be launched in one go.