The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to construct two reinforced (rigid) lanes on both sides of the Kashmir Highway that has been damaged by the large number of overloaded trucks using the route.
“An estimated 10,000 trucks enter Islamabad through the highway every day and there is no effective weighing system in place to check them for overloading. Initially the lanes will be constructed on the stretch of the highway between the Grand Trunk (GT) Road and Peshawar Morr, while the existing four black top lanes would also be repaired,” said Abdul Jabbar Milano, the CDA”s director roads (south), on Wednesday.
The initial plan for the project has been prepared and the authority is trying to get clearance from the departments concerned to start the construction work before the final approval of the project. “We want to start work on the project as early as possible,” he said.
The Kashmir Highway was repaired less than a year ago, but has again been damaged by the overloaded trucks, which has made driving on the road quite difficult. “The permitted load per axle is eight-and-a-half tonnes, but we have trucks here carrying 25 to 28 tonnes,” Milano said.
Construction engineers said that 13-inch thick concrete slabs with iron bars inside them should be used in the new lanes and were the only solution to the problem.
The National Highway Authority (NHA) has used the material at the Tarnol section of the Grand Trunk Road and is also planning to use it on some other parts of the motorway, especially the Salt Range section.
“Every eight seconds, we have a truck entering the Kashmir Highway and if the motorway had to deal with such traffic, it too would have been in a very poor shape today,” Milano said.
Although overloading may be the reason for the damage to the highway, the CDA has served a risk and cost notice to its contractor and has released only Rs 20 million out of the over Rs 70 million project cost.
“The extension and repair work on this stretch of the road would take Rs 2.5 billion. This being a government-funded project, a token money of Rs 200 million has already been released,” he said. The CDA is also in the process of adding another such lane on the Rawat-Koral Chowk section of Islamabad Highway, which is currently being repaired, he said.
To cope with the menace of overloading, weighing stations at three entry points will be established on the Kashmir and Islamabad highways and the IJ Principal Road, he said.
“At all the three points, the vehicles will be weighed while they are in motion and they would not have to stop to get their loads monitored, which would guarantee an uninterrupted flow of traffic,” Milano said. He said that once the weighing stations were established, fines would be imposed on vehicles carrying extra weight and they would not be allowed to enter the city.
Source: Daily Times