Caved in roads threaten China Chowk underpass
ISLAMABAD, Feb 22: Only a few weeks after other, similar incidents, a new portion of the road linked to the China Chowk underpass has caved in.
Beyond the traffic jams and detours, residents, businessmen and government officials suggest that this pattern indicates poor policies and planning on the part of the CDA.
According to an official from the Engineering Wing, the link road on Fazal-e-Haq road “caved in a few days back”. So far, there have been no signs or reflectors placed nearby to warn drivers of the danger.
The engineering official said: “We were forced to close this portion of the road with small blocks, not the big ones, to warn commuters away from the damaged portions – there was no other option.”
The flyover at China Chowk, an official from the Finance Wing said, has become “a nuisance” for the Engineering Wing. The underpass was built at a cost of Rs700 million, between 2005 and 2007.
During those two years, he said, the CDA spent a total of over Rs20 billion on various development projects including roads, flyovers and underpasses.
“Now both the link roads are closed,” he said, referring to the Jinnah Avenue link road, which caved in a week ago. “The bridge is more congested every day.” A 10-metre long portion of road near the Polyclinic also caved in a few weeks ago, disrupting traffic and threatening the underpass.
“This situation is disturbing,” the official said. He recommended that CDA Chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz and CDA board members visit the site soon. They should then forward the matter to a committee, which should be asked to submit a report within a few days.
The CDA spokesman, Ramzan Sajid, said: “Both the portions of the road caved in at the same time, I guess.” Saying that officials from the Engineering and Roads Divisions were “actively working” on the matter, he said it would be resolved within a week.
When asked about similar promises made by the CDA regarding the collapse of the road near Polyclinc, he blamed the rain for the slow repairs.
Comments from city residents, however, suggest that many are losing patience with the CDA, especially given the cost of these constructions.
“Why are portions of the roads connected to the underpass caving in so often?” asked the owner of a medical store, near China Chowk’s damaged partition.
The damage has brought not just frustration, but also fear. “These collapses are threatening the underpass,” the businessman said, refusing to share his name with Dawn.
“It’s obvious – even I can see it, and I’m not an engineer.” Referring to the CDA chairman, he said, “Syed Tahir Shahbaz needs to wake up and look into this before some real disaster happens.”