ISLAMABAD-After receiving cold response from federal government as well as private housing schemes to fund the widening of Islamabad Expressway from Koral to Rawat, the city managers are preparing to introduce interim remedies to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the highway from Wednesday.

The previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had allocated Rs7 billion in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 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.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was widely criticised for excluding this project and a campaign was also underway to convince the government to start it again on social media. However, the government allocated only few million rupees for the project in PSDP 2019-20, which are insufficient to even initiate this huge project.

Meanwhile, the incumbent management of CDA also tried to force sponsors of private housing scheme situated alongside the said potion of the highway to build interchanges with their own finances but the idea could not be materialised.

Now, after failing to convince the federal government for enough allocation in budget and a subsequent move to sensitise the private housing societies, CDA is going to commence improvement of Islamabad Highway from Koral to Rawat section from Wednesday.

From its own sources, the CDA would start work on improvement of protected U-Turns around PWD and Pakistan Town. This was decided in a meeting, which was presided over by Chairman CDA on Tuesday, which was attended by CDA Engineering team and SSP traffic. The chairman said that CDA engineering wing and traffic police should take a round of the area and propose interventions to be taken up on emergent basis for ease of traffic flow.

This is an interim arrangement to smoothen traffic flow on this road. The interim arrangement including repair of the roads, removal of potholes, especially on shoulders would be carried out to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the Expressway. The civil works would be jointly carried out by the societies and CDA. Slip lanes for entrance and exit of PWD and Pakistan Town would be provided while widening of U-Turn at PWD signal will be also carried out to ensure uninterrupted traffic flow at these locations. The interim project will be concluded with support from housing projects in the vicinity along with CDA resources.

Besides these remedies, a permanent solution is need of the hour as according to an approved plan, in the 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.