The expressway is one of the busiest roads in Islamabad and traffic on this main thoroughfare has increased tremendously over the past few years, driven primarily by the mushroom growth of housing societies along its length.
But where the four-lane highway suddenly transforms into a two-lane road at Korang Bridge, motorists have to face massive traffic congestion. The high volume of traffic and slow moving trucks on the road adds to the gridlock.
The CDA board has decided to award the contract of the expressway under Rule 42(f) of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, so as to ease the problems being faced by commuters on Koral-Rawat section of the highway.
Under this rule, the CDA can engage only government contractors. Two government contractors — Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and the National Logistics Cell (NLC) — are already engaged by the civic agency for its various development projects.
A CDA officer said that after competitive bidding among government companies such as FWO, NLC and the National Construction Company, the contract would be awarded to the lowest bidder.
The board had decided that work on the two-kilometre portion from Korang Bridge to PWD Interchange should be started immediately, through a government construction company.
They said if this portion was widened from the existing two to four lanes, this will solve nearly half of the congestion problems on the expressway.
Officials of the CDA’s engineering wing said it had already earmarked Rs2 billion for the project and would get the 2km portion constructed on its own. For the expansion of the remaining 7km up to GT Road, the authority would request the federal government for funds under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
City managers admit the road from Korang Bridge to GT Road is in dilapidated condition and requires immediate expansion.
Until the expansion of the entire 9km stretch from Korang to GT Road is carried out, motorists will continue suffering. Therefore, the CDA should go for expansion and widening of the entire road.
It may be noted that work on the PWD interchange and expansion of Korang Bridge is currently in progress. CDA officials said work on the interchange had been completed and it was open for the public. However, tasks such as lane marking, lighting and landscaping were yet to be carried out.
The expansion of Korang Bridge has been facing delays: the Rs650 million project was supposed to be completed in December 2021 but only around 60pc of the work has been completed until now.
Recently, the engineering wing – on the recommendations of a consultant – sought four months from the CDA chief to complete the project.