Narrow bridges

Narrow bridges, dilapidated Islamabad highway needing urgent attention

Islamabad: While it was already a hardship for commuters who walked up and down the Islamabad highway every day, the recent rains have made their lives even more miserable.

The movement of incredibly overloaded trucks and trailers, rolling up and down at a snail’s speed, caused deep cracks, cracks and ruts on both sides of the Islamabad highway, especially from T-chowk on GT Road to the bridge over Korang Nullah.

These cracks and cracks have already turned into pits and potholes and with no remedial action in sight, these pits and potholes will soon turn into ditches and trenches on the Islamabad highway.

However, there is a silver lining in the way as Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat recently revealed that the government has allocated Rs. 10 billion for the completion of the previously announced project to transform the highway from Islamabad as a “5-lane signalless highway”.

When contacted, the CDA spokesperson also confirmed that the government would allocate 10 billion rupees for the completion of this “5-lane signalless highway in Islamabad from T-chowk to Khayaban Iqbal”.

“CDA should get this money allocated and released in the next PSDP (Public Sector Development Program),” the CDA spokesperson told ‘The News’.

The Islamabad highway is probably the most congested road we take. There are no traffic count surveys available from the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the National Highway Authority (NHA), the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) or even the National Transport Research Center (NTRC). ).

The last nationwide traffic count survey was conducted somewhere in 1976 or 1977 by the NTRC. Since then, no such exercise has been carried out despite the fact that the road and motorway network has extended to the whole country.

The last PML-N government initiated the project to make Islamabad highway a five-lane highway with no signal from T-Chowk on GT Road south to Khayaban-e-Iqbal (former Margalla Road).

As part of the project, CDA constructed three interchanges at “Sohan”, “Khana Pul” and “Karal Chowk” to remove three traffic lights and make this length of the Islamabad highway a 5-way signalless route. Lanes.

However, the much more critical part of the project, the ‘Korang Nullah’ bridge to ‘T-Chowk’ was abandoned for inexplicable reasons despite the fact that it was not only much larger but was also approved in budget to be completed by December 2018.

The young officers of the Capital Territory of Islamabad (TIC), in particular Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and Deputy Commissioner (Rural) Umer Randhawa, had issued very important administrative instructions to help alleviate the problems of commuters using the Islamabad highway as well as to bring much needed relief to the residents of private housing companies.

But it must be admitted that the residents of the densely populated private housing companies on both sides of the Islamabad highway must also share some responsibility and provide assistance and cooperation to the CDA as well as the ICT administration which has tried to bring some relief in their life.

There is no doubt that the inhabitants of all these private sector housing companies, including the giant Bahria Town, will be the best beneficiaries of this project once it is completed. Two large private housing companies have already set an example in this regard.

The “Gulberg Green” have built one of the best underground passages to keep traffic flowing and uninterrupted as they enter the Islamabad highway. Likewise, Naval Anchorage also built a mini flyover to facilitate residents of their own society. It was also learned that the Defense Housing Society was also planning to construct an upward flyover of the “Sawan Bridge” itself.

The amount of Rs10 billion is allocated to transform the existing two-lane four-lane road from the Korang Nullah bridge to T-Chowk, widen the existing two-lane bridges into five lanes, including the Korang Nullah, the railway main bridge, Bhinder Bridge and Swan River Bridge.

The most populous private sector housing companies, including the city of Bahria, are located on both sides of the Islamabad highway between Korang Nullah and Naval Anchorage. As the public transport system is almost non-existent to facilitate the residents of these companies, nearly 90 percent of the residents own their personal vehicles or at least motorcycles.

And thousands of vehicles of all types dump on the Islamabad highway from these companies, more than 90% of those heading to Islamabad and returning in the evening. If these housing companies could extend their cooperation to CDA, as Gulberg Green and Naval Anchorage have already done, it would be easier and faster for the Authority to build a few interchanges, underpasses and overhead bridges, to facilitate traffic in all directions.

A senior CDA official told ‘The News’ that the money allocated to the ‘Islamabad highway project’ will be used for the widening and construction of these four bridges.

“Those, which are in poor condition, will also be rebuilt, a factor that could increase the scope of work on the project,” he added.

“Other works include widening the existing two-lane road. According to the plan, two more lanes will be added on both sides and the existing road, which is in very poor condition in several places, will be repaired and rehabilitated, ”he said.

He said that if the government releases the announced amount of Rs. 10 billion for the project to be allocated in the PSDP, the CDA can start the work instantly and the whole project could be completed within two to three years.

Meanwhile, it is incumbent on the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) as well as the ICT administration to try to relieve commuters as much as possible. In fact, Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat has already issued instructions to prevent the movement of heavy vehicles, all trucks and trailers, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the evening. The initiative was widely appreciated. However, it has been observed that these instructions are followed in the morning but not so strictly in the evening.

Likewise, Deputy (Rural) Commissioner Umer Randhawa actively engaged in the creation of a “fish-belly-shaped U-turn” at the “Khokhar Hotel” traffic light, the only remaining traffic light. on the Islamabad highway. He also removed unnecessary and unacceptable high-speed circuit breakers from the PWD route, again a step that earned the young officer a lot of appreciation.

And the CDA is required to send its teams from the Roads Directorate, if it is still with the CDA and has not been handed over to the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI), to assess the damage to the roads during the rainy period. season and how it could be urgently repaired to keep traffic flowing and avoid any unfortunate accidents.

The NTRC can also play a role by using its expertise and conducting a month-long traffic count survey not only on this segment of the Islamabad highway, but also on the Kashmir highway and the IJP route ( Inter-Junction Principal) to collect essential data. on the volume of traffic and its flow in all directions at different times of the day and night.

This data will help CDA road engineers plan construction with a futuristic approach and ITP to develop a traffic control strategy knowing what type of traffic volume they are facing.

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