Margalla Road is at pause. After a seven-year pause, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has recently settled a disagreement with a former contractor, paving the way for the abandoned project of building a road from G.T. Road to D-12 to be restarted.
“The long-running conflict [between CDA and the contractor] has been resolved; now we will award a new contract through a competitive process,” said Director Road (North) Rana Tariq, who added that the civic body was currently finalising the new estimate and hoped to award the contract next month. The Rs588 million scheme, which involves the development of an 8.5-kilometer stretch of Margalla Route, began in 2012.
It was expected to be finished in 2013, but due to a number of causes, including the shortage of land in one area, the contractor abandoned the project after finishing the foundation work, and both the CDA and the contractor began blaming each other for the delay.
The contractor also filed a lawsuit against CDA for being idle and late, and the civic authority avoided paying him any more money.
The arbitrator had ruled in favour of the contractor, but CDA appealed the ruling, and the two sides were locked in a years-long legal battle.
According to reports, CDA management and the contractor ultimately came to an out-of-court deal in which the contractor would not be liable for any delays, but CDA would release the initial outstanding dues.
“It was a win-win agreement with both sides because the contractor did not get the money after a seven-year dispute, and our road project has been stalled; but now we are free to grant new contracts,” said a CDA engineer, adding that the road serves four of the authority’s sectors: C-13, C-14, C-15, and C-16.
He stated that the contract for work on 6.5 kilometres of the road would be awarded, while the authority will realign the remaining 2 kilometres due to the location of a century-old graveyard, before starting construction.
The planned Margalla Road travels through the foothills of G.T. Road before it meets the end of Bhara Kahu, according to the city’s master plan, but it was never completed. Margalla Road is incorrectly referred to as Khayaban-i-Iqbal.
The current Khayaban-i-Iqbal could serve the function of Margalla Road from D-12 to Constitution Avenue, sources said, adding that base and earth work for another section of Margalla Road – from Constitution Avenue to Bari Imam – was completed 15 years ago, but further work on it was abandoned as well.
They went on to say that the CDA would construct the road from Constitution Avenue to Bhara Kahu in the second phase of the programme, and that negotiations with a consultant are currently underway.
“We want to employ the army’s Engineering and Chief Branch to design the feasibility report for this portion of the road,” the engineer said, adding that CDA will work to link it to Satra Meel so that it can bypass Bhara Kahu.
He said that the federal government was pressing the CDA to operate on the project because of the heavy traffic on the Srinagar Highway and other highways.
“Once these two phases of the Margalla Road are completed, traffic from Kashmir, the New Airport, and the Motorway will be able to use it as a bypass road,” he said. This inception of Margalla Road construction will be contribute to the beauty of Islamabad and it will ease the life for the residents of Islamabad.