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Islamabad: CDA gives go-ahead to Karachi-based contractor

ISLAMABAD: Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday announced it had awarded the contract for construction of Zero Point Interchange to the company that had submitted the lowest bid.

Messers Maqbool Associates, a Karachi-based company, was given the go-ahead following a meeting presided over by CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari.

Abdul Jabbar Melano, the director-general (Works), told Daily Times that the contractor had voluntarily reduced the bid by five percent or Rs 80 million. The actual bid was Rs 2.41 billion that would now come down to Rs 2.33 billion.

A committee comprising CDA engineering, finance and planning members, quantity and survey director, the project director and Melano discussed the details in two separate meetings.

The official said all information regarding the previous projects done by the company had been obtained and their work was found to be of good quality. “They have handled projects similar to the one they will now be executing but not as big,” he said.

The CDA officials were of the view that if they went into re-tendering, it would further escalate the cost of the project. “We couldn’t afford any further delay,” he said, adding work on the interchange would begin early next month.

The CDA boss has told the contractors to ensure completion of the project in two years and not to ignore aspects of safety, environment and commuter convenience. Proper diversions will be provided for during the course of construction with workers on site required to wear proper safety gear and uniforms.

The Zero Point project has for long been a thorn for the CDA as it had to face prolonged delays as a result of consultations over design and approvals from relevant government departments.

“We are now finally ready to kick off work on the project and have made all arrangements in this regard,” said the official while pointing out that whatever delay had been encountered was because of the enormity of the project.

“We had to be doubly sure of its design, this being a mega project that will be the showpiece interchange of the capital,” he said.

The authorities had got the original design vetted by a consultant of the National Highway Authority that consumed considerable time. The Planning Commission had made it mandatory that a second opinion be sought.

A French firm had prepared the PC-I of the project as early as 1997 but that was rejected by CDA. Subsequently, the PC I was put aside five times because of technical flaws and political interference that left the project in jeopardy. The CDA also had to dole out millions of rupees in having different designs made.

The final design of the interchange is in the shape of a cloverleaf and it would have five loops making it a unique structure that would serve Islamabad’s traffic needs for at least the next 20 years. “The interchange will be earthquake resistant and the construction will be done in three phases,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials said expansion of Kashmir Highway would begin shortly after work on the Zero Point Interchange formally kicks off.

The CDA plans to widen the section from Peshawar Mor to GT Road to five-lanes-a-side from its current two.

Three of the lanes on each side would serve the light vehicles with two being reserved for heavy traffic. “Since this road serves as one of the main arteries, we want to make it spacious enough so that it can accommodate the heavy load of traffic,” Melano said.

Sorce: Daily Times

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