Better late than never: Much-awaited overhead bridge opens for pedestrians

The project was announced after a student was killed while crossing the expressway.


Obaid Abbasi August 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has been late, but it has finally delivered its promise. The much-awaited overhead bridge on Islamabad Expressway has been opened for pedestrians.


The bridge, built with the main purpose of facilitating students of FG College of Commerce H-8/4, has been completed at a cost of Rs8 million.

The project had been a longstanding demand of students, who would risk their lives everyday while crossing the busy highway to reach the college. At first, they seemed to have no hope, but on January 21, 2009, Muhammad Zubair, a student at the college, was killed after being hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway.

Zubair’s death triggered a series of protests by students, following which the civic agency was forced to pledge the facility. Now that the bridge has finally been completed, students don’t have to take the risk of being hit by speeding vehicles on the busiest road of the capital. Nevertheless, it is a constant reminder of Zubair’s memories and what could have been had the bridge been there since the beginning.

“I don’t know why the authorities wake up when it’s too late. We lost our best friend. Had the bridge been there before, he would have been with us today,” said Bilal, a student at the Commerce College.

However, Federal Government College Teachers Association Spokesman Prof Tahir Mehmood expressed satisfaction over the project. “It should have been competed on time. Nevertheless, the lives of students are safe now.”

Asked about the delay in the project’s completion, CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid attributed it to financial constraints due to which the civic agency could not clear the contractor’s dues.

“Initially the project was given to Maqbool Associates but later the CDA entered into a contract with Heavy Mechanical Complex to construct three bridges at a cost of Rs48 million,” he explained.

The construction work of the remaining two bridges is expected to begin after Eid. One of the bridges will be built in front of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, while the other one will be constructed near Pakistan Monument on Kashmir Highway.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012. 

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