Margalla Avenue which is stalled due to dispute between CDA and contractor will be game changer for Islamabad real estate after it is completed. As this avenue will give direct access into heart of Islamabad for traffic coming from KPK the plot prices will sky rocket in Sectors C-16, C-15, C-14, D-14, D-13, D-12, E-12, and in E-11. B-17 which is situated directly opposite the point where Margalla avenue is starting on G.T road will also get a price jump. I have notices some very prudent and experienced investors silently buying plots in sectors lined on Margalla Avenue in a hope to hit jackpot one day.
The investors believe that as soon as Margalla Avenue is opened, prices of plots will increase by 40 per cent.
Margalla Avenue aka Khayaban-e-Margalla would run along the foothills of Margalla Hills and will connect Sector B-17 (the G.T. Road a little on the south of the Nicholson Monument) to Sector E-11 (11th Avenue and Khayaban-e-Iqbal). This road would also allow an easy approach to the New Islamabad International Airport.
It will be a 16-kilometre, four-lane road which is 48 feet wide each side with a 20-foot median (green belt) running in between. Once completed, it will facilitate the travellers heading towards Islamabad from the Northern parts of the country to reach the heart of the city within 10 minutes. It will also facilitate those who have to commute daily from areas like Taxila, Wah Cantt, Hassan Abdal, Haripur to various parts of the federal capital.
We have news this project may be extended from GT Road to Murree Expressway in a bid to allow Murree-bound vehicles coming from the motorway and GT Road to bypass Islamabad. The first portion includes the construction of a road from GT Road to Sector D-12, the second starts from D-12 and culminates at Constitution Avenue after passing through the E and F series of sectors, while the third portion involves the construction of a road from Constitution Avenue to Murree Expressway.
As per “DAWN” Nespaper latest news 22 January 2020
“For decades, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has failed to construct Margalla Avenue, a bypass road envisioned in the capital’s master plan. In its absence, residents of Islamabad have seen growing traffic congestion on its existing alternative, Khayaban-i-Iqbal.
Known as Margalla Road among residents, Khayaban-i-Iqbal is one of the capital’s most iconic thoroughfares, framed on one side by the Margalla Hills and the F sectors – for which it is actually a service road – on the other.
It currently bears the traffic load of the proposed Margalla Avenue, resulting in congestion and prolonged waits at traffic signals, particularly in front of the Naval and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) complexes and the intersection with 7th Avenue.
“We have to suffer every day, particularly during office timings. The current road is insufficient to bear the level of traffic; the CDA should build new roads in accordance with the current needs,” said Mujtaba Ali,who lives in the capital.
Another resident, Mohammad Kamran, said commuters also find traffic at Shaheen Chowk and Zafar Chowk because of the many educational institutions in the area.
Failure to execute Margalla Avenue project has aggravated the capital’s traffic situation
Margalla Road is lined by Bahria University, National Defence University, Air University, Bahria College, the PAF Foundation schools and many other private institutions. On the other side of F-8, one of the sectors along the road, are the district courts, visited by lawyers and litigants who also use this road.
“Travelling on various major avenues in Islamabad has become cumbersome because of the increased traffic and the absence of road sense in the public,” remarked Mubarik Elahi, who has lived in the capital since 1976. “Margalla Road is no exception, as many important defence installations and universities are located on this avenue. It takes a lot of patience to travel on this road during peak hours.”
A CDA official denied that there was any serious traffic congestion on Margalla Road, except for its intersections with Faisal Avenue and 9th Avenue. Instead, he attributed the problem to parking violations and the number of educational institutions along the road.
Another official said that back in 2015, a study was carried out by Nespak to determine the traffic load on Margalla Road between 7th Avenue and Faisal Avenue which found that 32,000 vehicles run on the road.
But the CDA has no data on the portion between the 7th Avenue and 9th Avenue intersections, he added.
The official said: “We are planning to introduce smart signals on this road to overcome the issue.”
Some CDA officials have estimated that around 50,000 motorists use the road every day. They said that the burgeoning traffic issue could only be addressed by constructing two underpasses on Margalla Road, at the Faisal Avenue and 9th Avenue intersections. The authority does not currently plan to build either.
The issue could easily be addressed by building underpasses, Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz – who has no role in the development of Islamabad’s road infrastructure – said.
“Being mayor, I have been receiving complaints about traffic congestion at certain points on Margalla Road, which is in fact a service road. I myself reside along the road and I personally know that the road has been facing traffic congestion during school timings because of the increase in educational institutions and vehicles. The problem should be addressed through the construction of underpasses,” he said.
An Islamabad Traffic Police spokesperson said that while there is traffic congestion in certain areas during school timings, it is manned efficiently by the police.
The forgotten avenue
The proposed Margalla Avenue divides Zone III to its north from Zone I and II to the south. Under the city’s master plan, it would begin from the G.T. Road, passing through the foothills of the Margallas to Constitution Avenue and onwards, to Bari Imam and the Bhara Kahu Jugi stop where it would connect to Murree Road.
The CDA began a project to build this avenue from the G.T. Road to D-12 seven years ago. The work stalled a few years later because of lack of planning; the project had been initiated without conducting a survey and upon reaching Shah Allah Ditta, the road hit a century-old graveyard and shrine.
CDA engineers said that the alignment of the road should have been cleared before the project began but the authority initiated it in haste. The nine kilometre road has not been completed since.
According to its PC-I, the Rs588 million project was supposed to be completed by 2013. The CDA and the contractor are currently in court, with the contractor seeking compensation from the authority on the grounds that it was the CDA’s fault that the contractor was unable to complete the project and that the contractor’s machinery had remained stuck for years. A court arbitrator fined the CDA Rs170m, which the authority challenged in the Islamabad High Court.
Four of the CDA’s planned and acquired residential sectors – C-13, 14, 15 and 16 – as well as the developed D-12, depend on this avenue.
Another portion of the avenue has also technically been built. Margalla Road culminates in F-15, from where there is an alignment of the road up to Constitution Avenue.
“Technically speaking, Margalla Avenue exists in Islamabad in the small portion from F-5 to Constitution Avenue,” a CDA engineer explained.
He added that a 2km portion of the avenue north of Constitution Avenue towards Bari Imam was also constructed in the late 90s or early 2000s. But this portion, which connects to 4th Avenue crossing the rear of Prime Minister House, has not been carpeted and is now abandoned.
CDA officials said that whenever the authority decides, the existing portion of the avenue will be connected to Murree Road at the Bhara Kahu Jugi stop.
The CDA acquired land for the avenue in the 60s, they added, so there is no land acquisition issue.
“With some alteration in the avenue’s alignment it can be constructed to provide a direct link to traffic coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of the country to Murree and Kashmir,” an official said.
CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed said that they are discussing various proposals for the construction of the avenue.
“I have already told the concerned directorate to resume work on a portion from the G.T. Road to D-12, where work was halted because of a dispute between the contractor and the CDA,” he said.
For immediate relief, he added, the CDA is in the process of installing sensor-based smart signals on Margalla Road to ease traffic congestion. He said: “We will also examine if underpasses are needed.”
In the future, the planned avenue will connect to a ring road around Islamabad that will begin from Bhara Kahu and culminate towards Rawat, Mr Ahmed said.
Sources in the CDA said that the realignment of a portion of the road is also being considered because of its proximity to armed forces’ installations. They said that the commission formed to revise Islamabad’s master plan discussed the matter and decided to leave the matter up to consultants that will be hired to carry out comprehensive revisions.