ISLAMABAD: Due to the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) decision to postpone an underpass project on the Srinagar Highway at Serena Chowk, there is now constant traffic at the intersection, making commuting challenging, especially during rush hours.
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Since Railcop had submitted a cheaper bid than the National Logistic Cell (NLC), the CDA opened a tender to award Railcop a contract in July. The underpass project was scheduled to be inaugurated on 3 August by the then-prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, but at the last minute, he declined to do so, claiming that Railcop had experience in constructing underpasses. Instead, he instructed the CDA to give him a presentation on this project.
And the bid validity has now also run out of time. A CDA engineer stated, “The bid has expired… technically, this project has been shelved.” When the civic organisation opted to pick up the project again, he said, the bidding procedure would need to be restarted.
Cab driver Rizwan Ali remarked, “I encounter traffic bottlenecks here every day, but the CDA is not showing any interest in resolving this issue.
A CDA official claims the decision to shelve the project is illogical.
The Srinagar Highway, Constitution Avenue, Club Road (Murree Road), and Attaturk Avenue, among others, converge at this juncture, causing congestion, according to him.
A CDA engineer stated that this renovation should be completed as soon as possible because “VVIP delegations” also utilise the aforementioned roadways to access the parliament and other significant structures on Constitution Avenue.
“The civic agency should request new bids if the bid’s validity has expired. However, it is absurd to put this endeavor on hold. Sooner or later, the CDA will have to build it, the engineer predicted.
It is important to note that in Islamabad, most of the intersections where traffic was congested improved with interchange and subway construction. The Serena Chowk and F-9 lights are two important locations where traffic congestion continues to be an issue for residents.
The National Logistics Cell (NLC) had submitted an offer of Rs3.5 billion, but Railway Constructions Pakistan (Railcop), a subsidiary of Pakistan Railways, had secured the contract by providing the lowest bid (Rs2.1 billion).
Before making a decision regarding the project, the former prime minister requested a presentation from the CDA on the construction company that had been awarded the contract. But Mr. Sharif was unable to decide anything while he was in government.
The Srinagar Highway from the 7th Avenue Interchange to Serena Chowk was to be enlarged with two extra lanes as part of the aforementioned project. In addition, this project, which would have taken six months to complete, would have renovated a section of the roadway from the junction to Murree Road.