And now presenting: Zero Point Interchange

Published: May 30, 2011
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Delayed by over a year, the project is in the final stages of completion. PHOTO: FILE

Delayed by over a year, the project is in the final stages of completion. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Work on the multi-billion rupees Zero Point Interchange (ZPI) has almost completed.

The Capital development Authority has made all ZPI portions functional for the traffic and is now giving final touches to the interchange, a CDA official said on Sunday.

The authority has also sent a request to the prime minister for the project’s inauguration. While a major portion of the project was opened to the public back in April, some of the roads and loops were incomplete. They have now been made functional.

The completion deadline for the ZPI project had earlier been extended indefinitely. The decision was taken after the mega project managed to hop several deadlines given by the civic authority.

Among others, one reason for the delay given by a top CDA official was that they were waiting for machinery from France to anchor the National Monument’s hill. The area lies adjacent to one of the loops of the interchange and its steep slope all the way up to the monument was being termed as susceptible to land sliding.

A loop giving access to the traffic moving from Faisal Avenue to Kashmir Highway was designed very close to the National Monument and some experts raised concerns about the integrity of the monument’s structure. “To avoid any damage, we have engaged a foreign firm to supply anchors to support the monument tying it with the nearby rocks. The anchor would be erected by mid June,” he said.

ZPI Project Director Mumtaz Hussain claimed the loop beneath the monument was not initially part of the project and lead to its delay. The law and order situation, VVIP movements, rains and shortage of funds are the other reasons given by CDA officials for the holdup.

The first deadline for the Rs2.75 billion ZPI project was September 31, 2010. After revision in its cost, the deadline was extended to December 31, 2010. After that a series of technical and procedural irregularities surfaced.

The final cost of ZPI, at Rs4.1 billion, is almost twice the budget initially proposed (Rs2.27 billion).

As per rules, the original proposal known as the PC-1 has to be revised when the cost of a project changes, but in ZPI’s case the changes were not made.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2011.

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