Capital likely to have pedestrian underpasses

ISLAMABAD, May 30: City managers are planning to construct two pedestrian underpasses at Jinnah Avenue (Blue Area).

English: Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad, Pakistan.

English: Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We will invite firms shortly for two separate underpasses,” Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Farkhand Iqbal told Dawn.

He said the project was being initiated on the demand of traders’ community of the federal capital.

If the plan is implemented, Jinnah Avenue will be the first highway in the capital having pedestrian underpasses.The CDA chief said shops on both the sides of underground passages would also be constructed.

Responding to a question about the cost of the project, he said the construction cost of the two underpasses was being estimated. It has been observed that since Jinnah Avenue was made a fast-moving track with the construction of overhead bridge and underpasses for vehicular traffic in 2005, the road has become quite dangerous for pedestrians.

The traders’ community said there was an urgent need to construct underpasses for hundreds of people who had to go across the road daily on foot.

“We have proposed underpasses for the second time as first we demanded it in 2009 when Kamran Lashari was the CDA chairman,” said Vice President Qaumi Tajir Itehad and the head of media wing of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Sohail Malik.

He said traders had also presented their demand again to the incumbent CDA chairman.

“We have proposed two sites for underpasses, one in front of Saudi-Pak Tower and the other near Pims,” he said.

“Earlier, the CDA was planning to build overhead bridges for the people to cross the road but we strongly rejected the idea because it could mar the beauty of the highway,” the traders’ leader said.

He hoped the problem of car parking would be resolved to some extent in the Blue Area if underpasses were built.

A passerby, Nadeem Ahmed, who works in a private office in Blue Area, said sometimes people had to wait for four to five minutes to cross the road which remained flooded with cars in peak hours.

He said when the road was made the fast-moving track; the city managers should have thought how people on foot would go across the road.

The residents, he said, faced same problem at Islamabad Highway, 7th Avenue and 9th Avenue as there was no crossing facility for the people to move one sector to another.

The CDA installed overhead steel bridges at 7th Avenue and Islamabad Highway but 9th Avenue and Jinnah Avenue still have no such facility for the passersby.