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Islamabad: CDA’s enduring love affair with 7th Avenue

ISLAMABAD: Seventh Avenue drew Capital Development Authority (CDA) intense public flak for its construction ate up hundreds of trees, yet today this marvellous road appears to have silenced even the most vocal of critics, so lovingly it has been maintained.

Such is CDA’s love for or obsession with this particular avenue that ever since its inauguration in August last year, its beautification has continued almost constantly that has made it the town’s showpiece road.

No other road in Islamabad has been given the kind of attention as this because the CDA had perhaps a point or two to prove. Observers feel that the city fathers wanted to make their critics realise that their decision of making the 7th Avenue was correct.

“Look at the people who now travel on the 7th Avenue, many of them were those who were criticising its construction but today they find it a very convenient road,” CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari pointed out.

Indeed if the number of people using this road is any indication, this is the one. Providing a through passage between Khayaban-e-Suharwardy and Khayaban-e-Iqbal, the road is also good enough for pleasure drives.

“You can’t say that it is merely a structure of concrete because its landscape is beautiful and so is the drive on it,” Lashari said explaining that the trees brought down during its construction were mostly the allergy-causing Paper Mulberry variety.

Surely, the authority does deserve credit for beautifying the road and intelligently so. The hundreds of saplings planted on either side of the avenue are coming up well, thanks to the tender care being given to them.

Soon, officials hope, they would begin to provide shade and add to the beauty of the avenue built at a cost of Rs 900 million. But there is more to it than just trees. The slopes alongside are a sight for sore eyes and the motifs being made on its bridges or underpasses are the first of their kind in the Capital.

Another first for this road that has five underpasses on its four-kilometre stretch is the Driver Feedback System – speed guns that assess the speed of oncoming vehicles in the fast lane and flash it for the motorist to see.

Clearly everything on this avenue is different – even the design of the roadside rainwater drain is such that it isn’t seen anywhere else. The lampposts have been imported from China and the signage, cat eyes and lane markings too are of international standard.

In hindsight Lashari said that he was happy for they got value for money. He recalled how the CDA was hesitant to make the entire road signal-free. “Initially, we were only designing the Kulsoom Plaza underpass for we thought that there would be disturbance and an increased workload and costs if we did others,” he said.

But later it was decided that the avenue be made a through road. “It took a little more time, delayed the project and made it a bit costlier but it was worth it in the end,” the chairman said.

Although the 9th Avenue opened to traffic in February may eventually go on to rival its sister, the landscape of the 7th Avenue, however, makes it stand out and the road appears to have considerably raised the town’s profile.

Sorce: Daily Times

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