Expansion of Islamabad Highway in doldrums despite fund allocation | Pakistan Today

Expansion of Islamabad Highway in doldrums despite fund allocation

  • Rs 21bn project far from completion even after four years due to rampant urbanization, mushrooming of societies

ISLAMABAD: The delay in issuance of the approved funds by the Central Development Working Party of Rs 10 billion by the previous government has put the date of the capital’s flagship project – the widening, up-gradation and expansion of the Islamabad Highway – in doldrums, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The highway is not only connected mainland Islamabad with rest of the country but also to Zone-V, home to elite private housing societies like Bahria, DHA and the Naval Anchorage and middle-class localities like Ghori Town and Burma Town among others.

The main reason cited for the delay in payment is that the meeting of ECNEC (Executive Committee of the National Economic Council) has not been held since the caretaker setup has assumed the power. It is pertinent to mention here that the total price of the project is 21 billion rupees and was to be completed in four phases.

The first phase of expansion from Zero Point to Faizabad and the second phase from Faizabad to Airport has been completed and opened for the commuters. Once completed, the project will be 24km long, five lanes, dual carriageway signal free/controlled access corridor of the Islamabad Highway.

The widening of the Islamabad Expressway was direly needed as the recurrent traffic jams during rush hours, road congestion, and prolonged delays during commute were causing difficulties to many on daily basis. The billion rupees project aims to facilitate commuters and put an end to traffic woes for all and sundry.

The whole shebang of widening/extension is to promise a fatigue-free, signal-free and hassle-free commute to those lucky people who dwell in DHA, Bahria, Naval Anchorage, River Garden and other housing societies situated along it. The project promises to replace the traffic jam-prone 40 minute journey with a neat and tidy 15 minutes commute devoid of any traffic jams and least-bothered by signals once completed.

The billions of rupees spent on the project will provide the much-needed respite to the dwindled down real estate market. The prices had crashed and the whole property scene of the capital was and is in slumber. The mighty tycoons and property dealers saw their redemption in a multi-billion and the government-sponsored infrastructure development of highway.

However, many citizens believe that the widening/expansion of the Islamabad Highway is solely commissioned by CDA to lend a helping hand to private real estate tycoons in order to salvage the sinking prices of the plots in various societies. With the PML-N government gone, the hustle bustle of the election reaching feverish heights and an indifferent to mega projects and the caretaker setup, the future looks bleak for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters.

Shah Nawaz Mohal

Shah Nawaz Mohal is a law graduate, feature writer and columnist. At present he is studying world literature at University of Potsdam, Germany. He can be reached at [email protected]

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