Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2022.
Authorities have completed preparations to start work on the Rs6.40 billion Katchehri Chowk remodelling project.
Under the altered design, the Katchehri Chowk will now have a single underpass and a flyover. Consultant firm NESPAK has developed the new design for the road project, which will be inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi on October 15.
The Frontier Works Organisation has been given the contract of the project, which is expected to be completed in 18 months.
According to sources, owners of all buildings that fall on the newly designed route have been given notices to clear the way within seven days.
The construction of the intersection will help overcome the over 50-year-old problem of traffic bottlenecks.
Rawalpindi Development Authority Chairman Tariq Murtaza confirmed that funds have been released for the project. He said that the underpass and the flyover at Katchehri Chowk will be a new engineering experiment. “The project is entirely green and environmentally friendly. The signal-free project will also serve as a source of revenue for the government as computerised LEDs will be installed on the flyover and the underpasses for the display of advertisements.
In addition, he said, 15,000 trees and saplings will be planted around the flyover and underpass.
It is the only busiest intersection in Rawalpindi for the VVIP movement. This is also the busiest intersection for being close to the GHQ.
According to data, more than 300,000 vehicles pass through this busiest road daily. This intersection remains busy with traffic from morning till late at night. Due to the VVIP movement, motorists, transports and citizens remain stuck in traffic.
An Environmental and Meteorological Assessment Station will also be set up at Katchehri Chowk to gauge environmental pollution and expected climate change. Traffic will pass through a single lane from Rawat to Merrir Chowk and the old airport.
The project will be carried out with state-of-the-art style, new architecture and modern European and Chinese technology.
A part of the old mosque along the main entrance of the old district courts, dozens of lawyers ‘chambers, a large part of a petrol pump, a portion of the commissioner’s office premises and the boundary wall of the civil defense department will be razed to make way for the project.
It is currently the busiest square in terms of traffic, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles passing through it daily. Because of increasing traffic pressure, it has been decided to make this most important Chowk signal-free so that the traffic from Jhelum Road, Ammar Shaheed Chowk, City and Cantonment and Adiala Road passed through it without hurdle.