Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Kamran Lashari on Sunday inaugurated the eight-kilometre Ninth Avenue — the first signal-free road linking twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad — from Khayaban-e-Iqbal (Margalla Road) to I J Principal Road.
He termed the opening of the road as another big achievement of the civic body. “The Seventh Avenue is the best road in Pakistan and Ninth Avenue would be even better,” the CDA chairman said.
The Ninth Avenue was tastefully decorated by contractor of the project and CDA staff to mark the occasion. The walls of the underpass have been beautified by lights to highlight stonework and it would be a permanent feature on the road.
Kamran Lashari owed accomplishment of major road projects like 7th Avenue and 9th Avenue to teamwork of contractors, CDA officials, consultants and patience of residents of Islamabad. He particularly referred to the hard work of CDA member planning, member engineering, member environment, director general works and their team members.
The 9th Avenue with three underpasses, costing Rs1.7 billion, is the latest addition to the road network of Islamabad. “The road has been completed ahead of its scheduled time of May 2008,” Kamran Lashari said.
In the next phase, the Capital Development Authority plans to construct five flyovers and underpasses at I J Principal Road, Kashmir Highway, Jinnah Avenue, Ibne Sina Road and Nazimuddin Road.
Rejecting criticism on construction of avenues and roads, he said, it was a wrong impression that these avenues were constructed on greenbelts. He said that the under-development road network was very much part of Islamabad’s master plan, which had not been implemented for decades. “Even Faisal Avenue is 25-year-old and Constitution Avenue was constructed about 35 years ago,” he said.
He said in all 2,239 trees, which included 858 of paper mulberry, 443 of ‘shesham’, 68 of pine, 257 of eucalyptus and others were cut from right of way of 9th Avenue, while 6,436 saplings, including 980 of pine, 3,300 of fiddlewood, 470 of ‘kachnar’ and others have been planted on greenbelts of avenues. He said that another 21,336 saplings of various species would be planted during the spring plantation campaign starting today (Monday).
About other projects, he said that the physical work on 11th Avenue from Khayaban-e-Iqbal to Kashmir Highway would start in one month, while design of 6th Avenue from Kashmir Highway to Jinnah Avenue was also final.
“It’s a pleasure drive while moving on Ninth Avenue,” said Abdul Wadood. Abdul Wadood is a resident of Khayaban-e-Sir Syed and he has to cross various traffic signals to reach his workplace in Blue Area. “After today’s drive on 9th Avenue, I have made up my mind to use this route to reach Blue Area,” he said.
CDA workers cleaning 9th Avenue before its inauguration on Sunday. — Khalid Raja