The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is preparing to re-float the tenders for the conversion of existing two-lane ‘Kashmir Highway’ into a five-lane ‘Kashmir Expressway’ by the end of March, sources in the authority told ‘The News’.
CDA’s Member (Engineering) Engineer Tahir Shamshad told ‘The News’ that the bids received in the previous tenders were cancelled as the scope of work in the project was comprehensively revised.
“Earlier, the whole project was divided in four different parts, including the construction of ‘North’ and ‘South’ bound roads, construction of bridges and culverts and construction of under-passes/over-head bridges and the construction of the project from GT (Grand Trunk) Road to Golra Mor.
“The bids received in response to the tenders floated for this project earlier were cancelled keeping in view that awarding separate contracts for the construction of roads, the bridges/culverts and the under-passes/over-head bridges for maintaining an uninterrupted flow of traffic on the Kashmir Expressway, would cause unnecessary delays. This may also cause problems between the contractors engaged on different segments of this project as they may start blaming each other for any delays caused therein,” Member Engineering said.
“So, it was decided to include the construction of bridges/culverts and under-passes/over-head bridges connecting the ‘G’ series sectors with the ‘H’ series sectors in one contract. And this was done after considering all the aspects involved in this project. So, the working in this regard is underway and we have already made a lot of ground in our preparation to re-float the tenders for this project,” Tahir Shamshad said.
According to the revised plan the whole project is now divided into three phases. Phase-I is the conversion of existing ‘North-bound’ Kashmir Highway into the five-lane Expressway from Golra Mor to the Peshawar Mor (9th Avenue). Phase-II is the conversion of the existing ‘South-bound Kashmir Highway into the five-lane Expressway from Golra Mor to the Peshawar Mor (9th Avenue) and the Phase-III is the conversion of existing Kashmir Highway from Golra Mor to the GT Road.
This stretch of project is 8.5 km in length on each side (North and South) and includes a total of two over-head bridges on the Railway track, three underpasses to connect the ‘G’ series sectors with the ‘H’ series through 10th, 11th and 12th Avenues and four nullah bridges.
“By incorporating these underpasses to be constructed on the 10th, 11th and 12th Avenues to link the sectors on both sides of the ‘Kashmir Expressway’ in this project we are easily saving a lot of money for the CDA if we may compare that a single inter-change now under construction at the ‘Zero Point’ costs more than Rs2 billion,” he said.
Director-General (Works) Abdul Jabbar Malano, when contacted, told ‘The News’ that in addition to the bridges and underpasses the CDA, keeping in view the fact that there is still quite a sizeable presence of livestock in the areas on both sides of the Kashmir Highway, is also considering providing ‘animal crossings’ under the Kashmir Expressway.
“This would not only facilitate the people owning herds of animals that cross the road but would also help prevent accidents that are usually caused by animals roaming on the roads, especially during the night time,” the DG (Works)said.
Another senior officer of the authority when asked to comment on the ‘speculations’ circulating in town that the last bids were cancelled to allow at least another couple of different firms to join in the process and bid for the project, said that this was false and baseless.
“Only the previously eight pre-qualified firms will take part in the bidding process when the tenders will be floated for this project, most probably by the end of next month (March).
“We cannot go for the process of pre-qualifying the contractors/firms for the project once again and without that no new firm/contractor can become eligible to participate in the bidding. This would be a very long process and would eventually reflect adversely on our efforts to launch this project as soon as possible. So, only the previously pre-qualified eight firms, which took part in the bidding last time too, will be eligible to bid for the first two phases of the project when the tenders will be floated this time,” he said.
The third phase of the project, from Golra Mor to GT Road would be launched at a later stage, the sources in the CDA told ‘The News’.
Source: The News