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ISLAMABAD: Kashmir Highway becomes drain on CDA funds

ISLAMABAD: Kashmir Highway has become a white elephant for the finance department of Capital Development Authority (CDA) as it has consumed million of rupees during the last few years and the civic body is again set to spend Rs 800 million on its expansion and rehabilitation work starting next month.

According to sources, the CDA had spent Rs 80 million on the Highway construction in year 2005-06 and Rs 30 million on its rehabilitation in 2006-07 as the road damaged soon after its construction. The CDA has again allocated Rs 800 million in the budget 2008-09 for expansion and rehabilitation of the highway, they said.

They said on the one hand the CDA spent million of rupees on the construction of highway, on the other it has not yet constructed the highway on its proper alignment due to wrong engineering. The CDA Road Directorate constructed the highway on the site of G-12 and G-13 service road instead of its exact alignment, sources said.

Sources said CDA despite having huge infrastructure had so far failed to establish a proper project monitoring directorate, which was the main reason of heavy expenditures on the construction of Kashmir Highway and other development projects. They said the road damaged several times due to use of substandard material.

An official of CDA said Kashmir Highway was one of the main arteries that linked GT Road and Islamabad International Airport. It has become more important because the Federal Capital is developing towards the western side and the authority needed to construct it according to international standards, he said.

The official said that according a survey repot of the consultant hired by the CDA, around 40,000 vehicles use the Kashmir Highway daily.

Under the new plan, CDA would expand and rehabilitate the Highway, he said, adding, the road will have three flexible and two rigid lanes on each side. The work on the project is likely to start in the next month and will be completed in 2010, he said.

He said CDA had divided the project into four separate contract packages. First phase contract package is construction of road from Peshawar Morr to Golra Chowk, second from Golra Chowk to Peshawar Morr, third from Golra Chowk to GT Road and fourth phase contract package is construction of six bridges on six lanes.

After its improvement and widening, Kashmir Highway will be able to bear the flow of traffic for 25 years, he said.

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