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CDA back to the 7th Avenue drawing board

Having spent Rs 900 million on making the 7th Avenue, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has now reportedly realised there are several faults in its construction, which it now intends to rectify.

Inaugurated on the eve of Independence Day by Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, the road has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons ever since the first trees impeding its way were removed.

First, the environmentalists voiced concern that an entire green belt would have to be sacrificed for the road to run through. Then, the slow pace of work by the contractors led to the project being delayed for months, drawing public criticism.

Finally when the avenue that has five underpasses was given some kind of shape, the CDA ran into another snag – shortage of bitumen – a substance used for road carpeting. However, when eventually it did become available, a host of other problems surfaced and the work on the avenue seemed never-ending even at that late stage. Work on landscaping, construction of side drains and installation of lights within the underpasses was still going on.

Although the 7th Avenue is one of CDA’s masterpieces, being the first road without any traffic signals, reports of town managers now considering a couple of U-turns somewhere on its stretch has come as a shocker for the people. “Absolute madness” is how one motorist termed the impending move. “The whole idea of a through road would come to nought if the CDA does go ahead with its plan of adding U-turns,” said Islamabad resident Khalid Jameel for whom a drive up and down the new avenue is “quite a pleasure.”

Naseem Qureshi, another local, wondered what was the point of making multi-million rupee underpasses if finally the CDA had to make u-turns on this avenue.

Traffic Police Deputy Superintendent Hassan Raza agreed that u-turns were not required but insisted that the Kulsoom Plaza Intersection be closed to traffic from the Sir Justice Abdul Rasheed Road. “We had been told that this road would not bisect the intersection but this has not been done so far,” he pointed out.

Institute of Traffic Education Project Director Ansar Javed Kitana said that poor road engineering was evident everywhere in Islamabad. “Haphazard by lanes and improper road signs are causing more accidents,” he said.

The CDA also plans to widen the entry points leading to the 7th Avenue in addition to building pedestrian bridges to facilitate the people of sectors G-6 and G-7. “Yes, definitely such passages are needed,” Raza said.

A CDA official said that there were also plans to make pavements along some portions of the road to make it safe for pedestrians. But he did not say why flaws like the narrow and curved exits and entrances had been overlooked during the construction stage of the avenue that runs from Khayaban-e-Iqbal to Khayaban-e-Suharwardy.
Source: Daily Times

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