ISLAMABAD: With less than five months to go to inaugurate the new Metro Bus Service track from Peshawar Mor to the new Islamabad Airport, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is mulling plans to alter the alignment of the bus’ track.
Sources in the CDA told The Express Tribune that the project had run into snags since the civic agency did not have clearance to build the track on land beyond Golra Mor and would need to re-route the track around Grand Trunk Road.
The sources said that area along the Kashmir Highway from Peshawar Mor to Sector D-13 was clear. However, beyond Golra Mor, there were some arms depots along the Metro Bus track’s route. The civic agency, though, did not have clearance to build over those depots.
To mitigate this issue, CDA sources said that authority had allotted an alternate piece of land for the depots but the Defence Ministry did not shift their depots.
“Due to non-clearance…CDA will have to change the alignment of the Metro Bus project from D-13 to GT Road which is spread over almost two kilometres,” a CDA official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.
The CDA sources added that owing to realignment, land reserved for the mauve area (intersection) would be utilised to build a track for the metro bus.
The mauve areas were developed in every sector as per the capital’s master plan.
“If the alignment is changed and the track is constructed on land which was demarcated for mauve areas, then it would be a violation of the Master plan,” the CDA official said.
Earlier this year, the National Highway Authority (NHA) had approved to extend the Islamabad Metro Bus project to connect the capital to the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIAP). The project, the PC-I for which was approved in February, envisaged adding a 25.6 kilometre track to the service at an estimated cost of Rs18 billion.
The extension was divided into two packages – first from Peshawar Mor to Sector G-13 and from Sector G-13 to the N-5 interchange. The project also envisioned the construction of four interchanges and 14 stopovers (stations) as part of the project.
With the metro bus service to be launched simultaneously with the new airport on August 14, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had chaired a meeting to review the progress on various road networks and transportation projects at PM House in Islamabad on Thursday.
Frontier Works Organization (FWO) Director General Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal and NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar briefed about progress on various ongoing and planned projects.
During the meeting, CDA Chairman and Islamabad Mayor Shiekh Anser Aziz gave a briefing about the progress of the Metro Bus access link.
Nawaz noted that road network and transportation projects were vital to economic growth.
“Road projects would connect far-flung areas to urban centres thereby improving socio-economic conditions of the people,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2017.