Inaugurated on July 1, this year by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the signal-free corridor of the capital from Zero Point to Rawat will ease the agonies of many commuters who travel daily to the capital for one pretext or the other. The completion of 25 km Islamabad Expressway Signal-Free Corridor will not only ensure uninterrupted traffic flow at the main artery, but also reduce travel time from 40 minutes to 20 minutes.
Being established with a cost of Rs 21.814 billion, the signal-free corridor would be executed in three phases, where work on the first phase was in full swing and would be completed within a period of four months, said Capital Development Authority’s spokesman, Ramzan Sajid. It is pertinent to mention that first phase of the project was consisted of 4 km road from Zero Point to Faizabad including an interchange at I8 crossing where long queues of vehicles were witnessed particularly during peak hours. During the first phase, the existing three lanes on each side of the project would be replaced with four flexible lanes along with grade separated facility.
The CDA spokesman said digging phase from Zero Point Interchange to Faizabad Flyover Bridge had been completed, while carpeting of newly constructed line at each side from Zero Point to I8 crossing was also in progress that would be completed within a month. He said work on the project would be completed in scheduled time, adding, erection of pillars of interchange at the I8 signal was also in full swing.
In the second phase, existing five lanes would be rehabilitated with the addition of grade-separated facility and service roads on either side would be dulaised and rehabilitated. Sajid said the CDA had started planning to start work on second phase, which consist of 8.5 km road from Faizabad to Koral Chowk.“Documentation process for the second phase has already been started,” he mentioned. At the third phase, which consists of 12.5 km road Koral to GT Road, four lanes on each carriageway with grade-separated facility would be established. The project consists of six interchanges, which include full cloverleaf interchange at I8 Intersection, interchange at Sohan, full cloverleaf interchange at Khanna Intersection, full cloverleaf interchange at Airport/ Karal Chowk, partial cloverleaf interchange and one interchange at GT Road as well as up gradation of Faizabad Interchange. In addition to these, six vehicular underpasses and overpasses would be also constructed at different busy locations. Moreover, establishment of traffic control centres equipped with modern technologies and installation of latest security system are among the scope of the project.
“We are trying to complete the whole project in shortest possible time to facilitate thousands of commuters plying on the Rawat-Islamabad section of the expressway,” the CDA spokesman underlined. People living in Rawat, PWD, Media Town, Bahria Town, Jinnah Gardens, Soan Gardens and other localities alongside the expressway express joy after the start of the project and said that it would ensure smooth flow of traffic, besides saving their time and preventing them from fatigue.
“It is really a difficult task to travel on this road particularly from Koral Chowk to my home at Police Foundation housing society due to heavy traffic comprising of trucks, public transport and other vehicles,” said Waheed Arshad, an employee of a private firm. He welcomed the project saying that it would definitely mitigate the woes of thousands of people living in these localities. Fahad, a resident of Media Town, said the project would provide a comfortable drive to scores of individuals who visit the central city daily, however, “we should also not ignore the environmental effects of the project as a number of trees would be cut down during the project.”
Responding to this apprehension, Ramzan Sajid said the CDA would also plant a number of saplings along both sides of Islamabad Expressway under the project. “The authority will follow the Environment Protection Agency’s guidelines in this regard by planting four times more trees during the project,” he mentioned. An environmental impact assessment was in progress under the guidance of a leading environmental agency, the spokesman added.