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Karal Intersection to be opened by end March

By Mobarik A Virk
February 10, 2017

Islamabad

There is finally some good news for the commuters travelling through the under-construction Karal Chowk interchange. Part of the project called the ‘VIP route’ (linking airport) will be opened by the 28th of February.

Obviously not to facilitate the general public but for uninterrupted movement of the dignitaries converging in Islamabad from different countries for the forthcoming Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) conference, starting March 1, 2017.

According to the sources engaged on the project the rest of the project will be completed towards end March. Most probably it would be ‘inaugurated’ on March 23, the auspicious occasion of Pakistan Day.

“We had fallen behind the schedule because of a few reasons, the main being the delayed payments to the contractors engaged on the project,” the sources in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said.

“This issue has been sorted out to a great extent. Now we are focusing upon completing the part of the project that would link the (Benazir Bhutto Shaheed International) Airport with Islamabad and back on or before February 28,” the sources said.

“In fact this makes the bulk of the work on the project and there would be little left to go after. We are quite hopeful that the project would be completed in all respects by the end of March,” he said.

He said that the traffic flow could still be well maintained. “A meeting with the Islamabad Traffic Police, which also was attended by the Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad a few days back in which a traffic movement plan was presented. However, the ITP is unable to spare the required number of force to implement the plan effectively, which is causing inconvenience to public at present,” the sources said.

The Mayor of Islamabad, who also is the Chairman of the CDA, Sheikh Anser Aziz, when contacted said that the next step would be to tackle the Sohan Chowk where there is still a traffic signal operating as well as to complete the loops on Khana bridge.

“Once the work on these two points would be accomplished, this part of the ‘Signal Free Corridor’, which has to extend to T-Chowk near Rawat on the GT Road, would be completed,” he said.

“We would have been pretty much on schedule as far as the ‘Karal Chowk interchange’ is concerned but because of some financial constraints we suffered this set back. Now that the matter has been resolved and CDA’s accounts are un-freeze by the Supreme Court, we are able to make payments to the contractors and the pace of work on the project has picked up satisfactorily,” Sheikh Anser Aziz said.

“We have aimed to complete this part of the project (Karal Chowk to Faisal Mosque) by October. In fact, we have already awarded tenders for the work on Khana bridge and Sohan signal and I am confident that it would be completed by October this year. The work on loops at the Sohan signal as well as the Khana bridge has already started. But before those loops are ready at these two points, we also have plans to tackle the Sohan signal issue by creating a couple of diversions and a ‘U-turn’ at an appropriate spot on the Expressway,” Sheikh Anser Aziz said.