The Punjab government has decided to start construction of the 18 km-long signal-free Leh Expressway project around Leh Nullah this year.
An immediate meeting right after Eidul Azha will be convened. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Bazdar will give final approval of the project while Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed will also attend the meeting.
The total cost of the project is Rs55 billion and it will be built under private-public partnership (PPP). The expressway will be constructed keeping in view a flow of 100,000 cusecs of water to perennially resolve the flood issue. Five flyovers, three underpasses, and two interchanges are to be part of the project. The land beside the nullah will be declared commercial where construction of eight-storey buildings will be allowed. The inhabitants of slums along the nullah will be provide alternative accommodation.
Read Leh Expressway project inches closer to approval
Earlier, it had been decided that the expressway would be 30 kms long and the estimated cost was Rs80 billion. The project has been reduced to 18 kms with an estimated cost of nearly half the figure originally quoted. The interior minister said funds had been allocated for the expressway. The project will enhance the value of the lands of the citizens along the banks of the water stream. He said the expressway would be flanked by 1.5 million fruit-bearing trees.
A service road will also be built along with the road. He said tenders will also be advertised after final approval. The minister added that all legal requirements for laying the foundation stone of the expressway will be met in the next three months.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2021.
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