Koral to Rawat route’s expansion project awaits ECNEC nod

The Capital Development Authority has all set to widen Koral to Rawat route by adding one more lane on each side of the Islamabad Expressway after getting a green signal in upcoming meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). The civic authority had completed its homework on the route, claimed to be a signal free facility by 2017, seems to remain a quagmire for daily commuters even in 2018 as authorities concerned are restricted to paper work only.
CDA’s Director of Road Directorate North Tahir Mehmood talking to APP said the Authority had prepared a self-financed PC-1 of the project worth Rs 21,000 million by adding additional lane on each side from Koral to Rawat but later it was shelved due to paucity of funds.
However, he said the department again had to draft another PC-1 and was approved in PSDP for year 2018-19 with a cost of Rs 10,000 million.
The pre-qualification of the project has already been executed and now we were waiting for ECNEC’s approval, he added.
Tahir said the project would consist of two phases and Rs 5,000 million were earmarked for each phase.
The area from Koral to Naval Anchorage would be constructed in the first phase while remaining part would be covered in the second phase.
Meanwhile, travelling daily on Islamabad Expressway from Koral to Rawat or vice versa has become a nightmare for commuters where traffic remains clogged for hours.
Rizwan Ali, who daily commutes from Bahria Town to Sector F-8 said it was a nerve-testing job to reach office in time or get back home in an urgency as lot of time wasted due to long queues of heavy vehicles.
He said there was no other solution to this mess except expansion of the Expressway and construction of a ring road. He said all the three lanes are seen most of the time occupied by the heavy trucks.
Aleena Ilyas, a working journalist who has to travel daily from Media Town to Islamabad said, “You cannot determine your time destination while reaching office or getting back home. It has become a daily routine.” Expressing dismay over the situation, she remarked, “It will never be changed.”
Deputy Superintendent of ITP Arshad Chudary said the traffic jam was inevitable at this route because it had ten lanes up to Gulberg but suddenly it narrowed down to four lanes causing severe traffic mess. He said the signal free corridor from Zero Point to Rawat was required to be completed as early as possible to get rid of this daily suffering.
He categorically said, “Adding one more lane will not serve to the cause as a permanent solution.”
Responding to a question, he said the heavy traffic from Islamabad Expressway during the peak hours was being diverted towards Gulberg’s round-about to let the light vehicles use fast lane. Arshad said in worst case, sometimes trucks were being asked to line up on road side to ensure smooth passage of light traffic.
The ITP, he informed, had deputed two inspectors and eight officials on this route, working round the clock to minimize miseries of the road-users. A traffic sergeant at PWD stop said two narrow bridges and a couple of U-turns on this passage were major reasons of daily gridlocks on this heavily burdened artery.—APP

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