The Capital Development Authority (CDA) wants to build two underpasses along Faisal Avenue. It is opting for a private firm to build them, despite already having its own architectural design department.
Faisal Avenue’s key intersections are usually heavily crowded and are among some of the busiest roads in the capital. Due to this, the development authority has prioritized building underpasses along the intersections, so as to maintain uninterrupted traffic flow, while ensuring fewer accidents.
Where will the Underpasses Be?
CDA’s new project will link sector G-7 to G-8 and F-7 to F-8, via underpasses. Since these two locations have crowded markets, roads in their vicinity are usually full of busy traffic.
Asad Mehboob Kiyani, CDA’s Planning and Design Member said that the project is very important, and that it should be started as soon as possible.
According to him, the authority already drew up a draft design for the underpasses – drawn by its own design wing – called the PC-I, a concept that got approved during ex-CDA Chairman Maroof Afzal’s time.
But till now, the notice for inviting tenders (NIT) and design details for the project have not been finalized. CDA’s Khalid Asif, who is the Director Roads for the North Zone, said,
The in-house design for construction of underpasses had been prepared by the CDA design wing but at the time of issuing the tender, former CDA chairman Usman Akhtar Bajwa refused to go ahead and emphasized on hiring a private consultant to further improve the design.
Some CDA officials raised concerns, and said that going for a private firm at such an advanced stage could lay waste to the authority’s previous activities, while raising total costs for the project as well. A private firm charges 10-15 percent of the total expense for consultancy, and starting from scratch would also require a newer bill of quantity (BOQ), which could further raise costs.
A CDA official said:
There is no logic behind such activity which is nothing but a waste of time and financial resources on the pretext of planning commission regulations,
According to Asif, the cost of PCI-I was initially expected to be around Rs. 700 million – the underpass which will be built between G-7 to G-8 being at Rs. 350 million. He said:
We had requested an exemption for hiring of external consultant but former chairman Bajwa was adamant to go by the book and directed us to follow the Planning Commission’s rules on hiring a private consultant for projects which cost more than Rs. 500 million.