ISLAMABAD: While the New Islamabad International Airport may not open until next year, there was some good news regarding related development works. Officials on Monday said that construction on an extension of the Metro Bus may be completed by the end of the year.
This was disclosed in a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday. The meeting reviewed progress on the construction of road and other allied works for the Metro Bus connecting the capital with the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA).
National Highways Authority Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar told the premier that the 25.6-kilometre long section is being completed at a cost of around Rs12 billion.
He added that work on all the bridges, underpasses and culverts on the project was expected to be finalised later this month. The project, originally slated to cost Rs18 billion, would see a 25.6 kilometre-long two-lane signal-free corridor built from Peshawar Mor to the N-5 interchange.
The government had expected to complete construction of the project within six months, in time for the NIIA’s opening on August 14.
However, the project was delayed after the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif delayed the groundbreaking of the project by nearly 15 days due to the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case. With the inauguration of NIIA delayed, the metro bus project also ran into problems of its own on altering its route and overran its six-month deadline.
Apart from the Metro Bus, Abbasi was told that a cargo link road from Thallian to the Motorway has already been completed.
Moreover, the construction of the Airport Link road would not only provide easy access to the new airport but would also address transport related issues of adjoining areas including new sectors of the capital and suburbs of Rawalpindi.
The prime minister directed that work on the project should be expedited while ensuring the necessary coordination with all stakeholders, including Punjab Mass Transit, for bringing the Metro Bus Service online as soon as possible.
The NHA chief also briefed the premier about the dualisation of 33-Km-long Rawalpindi—Kahuta Road.Tarar said that the Project Concept-I of the project has already been prepared and was awaiting approval. The groundbreaking of the project is also being expedited, he said.
Tarrar further briefed the PM on the progress of other NHA projects, which he said, will be completed as per schedule.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2017.
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