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New plan: In the next few years, Rawat may be the new Islamabad
01-29-2014, 05:28 PM
Post: #1
New plan: In the next few years, Rawat may be the new Islamabad
ISLAMABAD: City managers, whose job it is to plan the capital’s development, have been tasked to follow one envisioned by the federal government. The plan unfolding gradually envisages focusing on the southeastern edge of Islamabad— Rawat and its adjoining areas— for future development of the capital.

The first step towards materializing the multi-dimensional plan is construction of a signal-free 10 lane Islamabad Highway from Zero Point to Rawat. And the capital’s civic agency has already started working on it.

A reliable source at the Planning and Design wing of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) confirmed the development. “The planning wing is preparing a PC-I for widening the Islamabad Highway from Koral Chowk to Rawat.”

He said the existing portion of Islamabad Highway from Koral Chowk to Rawat consists of four lanes. The portion of Islamabad Highway between Zero Point and Koral Chowk already consists of 10 lanes.

photo 2_zps2b289120.jpg

However, at the CDA, officers privy to the federal government’s plan are reluctant to share it, even with their fellow board members. “Apparently, it is to avoid possible criticism or to avoid a situation that emerged in the backdrop of a plan of constructing a road link to China from Islamabad that involved digging a tunnel through the Margalla Hills,” said a CDA board member.

A source in the CDA, however, gave a little insight into the development plan near Rawat. “Islamabad is fast expanding towards its southeastern edge. There are a number of private housing societies in Zone V, including Bahria Town, DHA. A second Islamabad is fast emerging on both
sides of the Islamabad Highway up to Rawat as it’s the centre of focus for private land developers,” the officer said.

“CDA was asked to address increasing demands for infrastructure around Rawat and for that very reason the CDA will widen the existing highway.”

When asked if the construction of high-rise buildings on both sides of the expanded highway was also part of the project, the officer said it was premature to say, however, he did not reject the possibility.

“Currently, we are focusing on the highway’s design. At a later stage we will consider whether to permit the construction of high-rise buildings or whether the CDA will use the right of way of the Islamabad Highway for some other purpose.”

Once the highway is widened, the approximately 24 kilometre-distance between Zero Point and Rawat could be covered within 12 to 15 minutes, he said. “CDA is also planning to make the under-construction Kashmir Highway signal-free by constructing underpasses, overhead bridges and an interchange.”

It may be interesting to recall that the plan unfolded by the National Highway Authority before the Supreme Court for building a tunnel through Margalla Hills to develop a motorway link to China through Islamabad also included a widened and signal-free Kashmir Highway and Islamabad Highway. However, the officer rejected the idea that widening of the Islamabad Highway was part of that project being carried out in phases.

CDA Planning and Design Member Waseem Khan said the city’s development was a constant feature at the CDA and widening of the Kashmir Highway is part of that process.
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