ISLAMABAD - The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has finally decided to award the contract for the construction of eagerly awaited Zero Point Interchange to a Karachi-based construction firm, Maqbool Associates. The decision was made at a high-level meeting held here on Tuesday. The CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari chaired the meeting. The CDA Member (Engineering), Moin-ud-Din Kakakhel, Member (Planning), Raja Nosherwan, Member (Finance), Kamran Ali Qureshi besides other high officials of the Authority also attended the meeting. Maqbool Associates appeared to be the lowest bidder among four of the five short-listed construction firms whose tenders were opened last month. The firm, which had initially bid over 77 percent above the estimated cost for schedule items and over 48 percent above the estimated cost for the non-scheduled items, has reduced both the costs to 72 percent and 43 percent respectively, informed an official of the Authority. The project would cost a total of Rs 2.33 billion, the official maintained. It is pertinent to mention here that all the four construction firms had bid higher than the estimated cost of the project. Maqbool Associates, the lowest bidder, had bid 77 percent high while the highest bidder, Sachal, had bid 166 percent above the estimated cost. The CDA official further said that a high-level committee constituted by the CDA Chairman had visited the projects executed by Maqbool Associates in Karachi and Hyderabad and had decided to award the project to the firm after thorough consultations. He assured that the firm would start construction activities at the site within fifteen days. Another official of the Authority informed that the interchange at the entry to the federal capital has been designed in the shape of clover leaf, which would have four loops, four slip roads, 3 pre-stressed RCC girder bridges, one underpass, reinforced walls and four pedestrians bridges. He further said that the interchange, which, he said, would cater the traffic needs for the next 30 years, would serve as a junction for the five-lanes Kashmir Highway and six lanes Islamabad Highway after the construction of additional lanes with the two major highways. About the strategy adopted for the execution of the city's biggest project, the official said that the construction work would be carried out in three phases.  In first phase, he said, slip roads would be constructed and existing roads would remain in use while loops and other work would be executed in second and third phase. He further said that traffic entering the capital from Rawalpindi via Islamabad highway would be diverted to Garden Avenue from sector I-8 signal, while traffic entering the capital from Kashmir Highway would use 9th Avenue and sectors G-8, G-9 and G-7. Mumtaz Hussain, Project Director of Zero Point Interchange said that the interchange would be given a fine finish and aesthetic aspect of the project would be greatly cared about to have a beautiful look as the same occurred at the very gate to the federal capital.