The executing body, Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), with the help of its contractor, has expedited work on the Mareer Chowk railway bridge expansion after general elections, but the project is still not expected to be completed by the end of the current year.
According to credible sources, the project would still take at least 6 more months i.e. by the end of December. In this connection, sources said that the main hurdle coming in its way is late removal of railway tracks by the Pakistan Railways for changing routes of trains. The Pakistan Railways took more than three months to complete work of removing one side of tracks. Secondly, the completion of the project has been delayed due to the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), which took too much time to remove electricity poles coming in its way. Otherwise, the RDA was well set to complete the project on its scheduled time of April 30, 2013, sources added.
According to sources, the RDA had to suspend work on the project due to these hurdles a couple of times. However now the RDA has been able to remove all obstacles and doing work on the project round-the-clock.
On the other hand, a highly-placed official, pleading anonymity, did not agree with sources that the project would be completed by the end of December. He said that the entire work on the project would be completed by October 30 this year. According to him, 85% of work on the sub-structure of the double track bridge has been completed. Similarly, 50% of work on the steel super-structure of double track bridge has been completed. As per the vetted design of the Pakistan Railways, the fabrication of steel super structure is technically unique and complex. He said its various sections were not available in the local market and these were imported. The 90 number cross girders are to be provided by the Pakistan Railways (as these are only available with it), which are being fabricated at the Railway Workshop in Jhelum. The same would be transported to the NLC Workshop for fitting it with the main structure. The fabrication of steel super structure includes 300,000 drills-rivets.
According to RDA Director Umar Farooq, the entire work on the structure of double track bridge would be completed by August 14 this year. He said the remaining phase of work on the single track bridge on which trains are operating now would be started in the next fiscal year. The funds of Rs120 million would be allocated by the Punjab government for work on the second phase of the project, including single track bridge, in August this year. Immediately after its release, work on single track bridge would be kicked off and completed by October 30 this year. It means that the project would be completed in October, he said. He said that now all bottlenecks have been removed.
To a question, Umar Farooq stated that the Traffic Police Office at Mareer Chowk would be demolished within this week. He said the RDA has completed work on the new traffic checkpost near Punjab House. After three to four days, this post would be shifted to its new site.