Cracks appear on Zero Point Interchange

ISLAMBAD, April 5: Cracks have started appearing on the Zero Point Interchange, putting a question mark on the quality of the engineering work on the Rs4 billion project started by the previous Pakistan People’s Party’s government.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is likely to start a forensic audit of the interchange, said an official close to the development.

An official in the engineering wing of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said forensic audit can be conducted by an independent engineering investigation company of international repute or by the FIA engineering fraud unit.

He explained that in a forensic audit an engineering methodology is applied to determine and interpret, through scientific data, the causes of damage to a structure like a road or bridge. It can also measure the material used in the construction, including its quality.It may be noted that work on the ZPI project was started in September 2009 at a cost of Rs2.27 billion. However, at the time of its completion in 2011 the cost escalated by almost 83 per cent to Rs4.15 billion.

“This road on Faisal Avenue has sunk for the eighth time within a span of one year of its construction which shows poor road engineering,” said an engineering wing official who did not want his name published. He said CDA Chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz had been informed about the concerns of the engineering wing and even by the citizens.

“The matter is in the knowledge of the chairman and he is also likely to take up the matter after consulting the engineering and planning wing officials,” said an official who will be part of the investigation.

Mansoor Rashid, a pedestrian, told Dawn: “Almost after every two to three months a patch of the road right under the Zero Point Bridge has to be repaired.”

He added: “It’s more like a tricky trap since you have to jump right after crossing the bumpy tracks which always remain under maintenance, proving that an engineering flaw still exists,” said Mr Rashid.

Meanwhile, an official of the FIA said the interchange inquiry was already with the FIA which was probing into the cost escalation.

“The FIA is not that good since investigation reports are not compiled and finished on time. A forensic audit should be conducted by the CDA,” said an official of the Ministry of Interior.

He said it is the CDA’s job to hire an independent engineering company after floating an advertisement for conducting the forensic audit.

“Once the forensic audit is completed, the CDA board should make the report public and fix the responsibility against those who may have been involved in the poor engineering work,” added the official.

Chairman CDA Syed Tahir Shahbaz, when contacted for comment, said: “I will definitely look into the issue and will get back to you once the issue is addressed by my office.”