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Islamabad: CDA wants opening of one side of Faisal Ave-Jinnah

The wishes of those in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to get at least one side of the Faisal Avenue-Jinnah Avenue flyover to be opened by mid-February, 2009, are most unlikely to materialise, as the contractors, engaged for the job have clearly expressed their inability to come up to the expectations of the authority.

The contractors, M/s MATRACON Pakistan-XB Joint Venture, told ‘The News’ that not only this proposal to open one bridge of the flyover for two-way traffic is ‘unsafe’ but would only cause further complications towards completion of the remaining part of the project.

But the CDA Chairman Tariq Mahmood Khan, while talking to ‘The News’ said that the authority is anxious to provide relief to the commuters travelling through the Jinnah Avenue at the construction site of the flyover, as they confront a slow down or jams, particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours. “We have asked them (the contractors) to complete at least one bridge of the fly-over by mid-February. We can install temporary dividers on this bridge and allow movement of traffic, which would ensure an uninterrupted and much smoother flow of traffic at this point,” he added.

However, the contractors, M/s MATRACON Pakistan-XB Joint Venture, said that they are far more eager to complete the project, but have been unable to meet the number of deadlines set in the past for the completion of the project owing to a host of unfavourable circumstances. They said that even one side of the bridge would take 35 days for completion and that would not be an effective solution of the problem. “What we are trying to do is to complete the whole project by March 23, 2009 and for that we need the cooperation from the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) as well as from the CDA,” the spokesman for M/s MATRACON Pakistan-XB Joint Venture told ‘The News’. “One has to understand that a delay in completion of this project is certainly not in our interests. We ran into snags right from the beginning with the Islamabad Traffic Police refused to extend any help to us in diverting the traffic so that we could have a clear place to work without any hindrance. We were working while traffic was flowing all around us without any interruption and that prevented us moving our heavy machinery during the day. The situation is still the same,” he pointed out.

He said that this proposal by the CDA for completing one bridge of the fly-over and opening that for two-way traffic is an ambitious one but would prove dangerous too. “We are striving hard to meet the deadline of March 23, 2009 and we are confident that we can meet that, provided we get the required cooperation from the ITP for preparing a temporary traffic diversion plan to provide us clear space to work as well as the cooperation from the CDA in the shape of release of funds, because the project has already suffered on account of interrupted cash flow,” the spokesman for the contractors told ‘The News’.

He said that even on Wednesday, the work for laying heavy girders on the flyover was underway and it was constantly hampered because of the traffic flow, something that the ITP could have easily resolved and helped speed up the pace of the work. “But nobody from the ITP came to help us despite the repeated requests we made to them. So, a job that could have been completed in one day will take a week to be completed. If such non-cooperative attitude persists from the ITP as well as the CDA, how we can achieve the deadlines set for the project,” he added.

However, the Consultant (Engineering) of the CDA, Col ® Arshad, said that completing one bridge of the flyover ahead of the other would not cause any difference or difficulties. He also claimed that the contractors, if they may wish, can cut down the time for drying and hardening process of the bridge by using better quality cement, which is available in the market instead of using the standard type of cement, which indeed takes a longer period to dry and gain strength.

Talking to ‘The News’ CDA Member (Engineering), Engineer Tahir Shamshad said, “What we expect of them (the contractors) is to simply realise that they have to complete this project as early as possible instead of waiting for any deadline because so many deadlines have already passed.”. “Even as much as 75 per cent of the payments on account of escalation have already been released by the CDA in addition to the actual cost. Their company is big one with a strong financial background. They should be able to absorb such delays on the projects of such big magnitude. They should be focusing more on completing the project instead of getting their payments released from the CDA,” he added.
Sorce: The News

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