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Delay in Leh Expressway project worsens sewerage problem
08-18-2015, 06:39 PM
Post: #1
Delay in Leh Expressway project worsens sewerage problem
RAWALPINDI: It seems the residents of the garrison city will continue to face severe sewerage issues as well as deadly floods in the monsoon season as city planners continue to sit on the much-trumpeted Leh Expressway project.

Speaking to The Express Tribune about the much delayed project, Rawalpindi Commissioner Capt (retd) Zahid Saeed said the Leh Expressway has become a misnomer.

“I will not be able to comment on the future of the project as it is not reflected in the Annual Development Program of 2015-16,” said the chief commissioner.

Under the project two signal-free roads were to be constructed on both sides of Nullah Leh to provide hassle-free vehicular movement from Rawalpindi to Islamabad. It also includes building a pavement of the Leh drain, and reworking sewerage lines from New Katarian to Jhanda Chichi bridge.

“There are three components of the project in total; the expressway is just one component,” he said, adding that “in order to build the expressway, we would need to finish the first two components; the construction of a waste water disposal pipeline through the river bed, and cementing the river from both sides.”

Both the commissioner and Rawalpindi Development Authority’s traffic planning director Jamshed Aftab say the project has been handed over to the Punjab Highway Department. However, officials at the department dispute the claim, saying no such project has been assigned to them thus far.

An official at the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) who requested not to be named said the Leh Expressway was a real solution to the flooding faced by the city every year.

“It has become a typical scenario where a development project is constantly put on the back-burner as it fails to attract the agenda of subsequent governments,” the Wasa official said.

The Rs16 billion Leh Expressway project was inaugurated by former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in March 2007 to tackle the issues of sewerage and recurrent monsoon flooding in the city.

The project’s original title was later renamed the ‘Sheikh Rashid Expressway’, and involved the construction of an expressway linking Ammar Chowk near Chaklala Scheme-III to the IJ Principal Road. The project was also expected to relieve the Murree Road from traffic congestion.

According to the Wasa official, an ‘elevated expressway’ project for the city was also inaugurated in 2007 to solve traffic problems, but was later cancelled by engineers after a feasibility study.
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