The cost of the Bhara Kahu bypass project has seen a substantial increase of approximately Rs 1.5 billion, totalling Rs 8 billion, surpassing the original PC-I approval of Rs 6.5 billion.
Officials from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) revealed that this cost hike is attributed to the expansion of the project’s scope during construction. As the bypass project evolved, additional essential components were incorporated, leading to the cost escalation.
NLC Demands Compensation for Extra Work
The National Logistics Cell (NLC), responsible for executing the project, demanded an additional Rs 1.8 billion from the CDA for the extra work performed at the request of the civic agency. To address this matter, the CDA referred the proposed bill to a consultant for third-party validation. The consultant firm from the Punjab government endorsed the extra work and recommended its approval, amounting to Rs 1.5 billion.
The CDA is now set to engage with the NLC to communicate the consultant’s recommendations and seek resolution on the matter. However, due to the concerns arising from the extra work and billing issues, the CDA has been reluctant to proceed with minor ancillary work on the bypass, such as the repair and overhaul of Murree Road beneath the flyover—a component not originally part of the contract.
Prioritizing Resolution of Extra Work
An official from the CDA explained that their priority is to resolve the issue of the extra work with the NLC. Once these dues are settled, they will then engage the NLC to carry out the repair work on Murree Road and linking the underpasses. Although this additional work was not part of the initial agreement, the CDA is inclined to have the NLC complete these tasks due to their efficient execution of the project.
Recently, the National Highway Authority (NHA) urged the CDA to undertake repairs and overhaul a section of Murree Road that was damaged during the construction of the Bhara Kahu bypass. The NHA holds custodianship over Murree Road, while the CDA is the owner of the Bhara Kahu bypass. The construction of the bypass resulted in damage to a segment of Murree Road beneath the flyover.
Complaints from the public regarding the deteriorating and bumpy condition of the road have prompted action. Perturbed by these grievances, the NHA convened a meeting with CDA officials to address the urgent repair work.
Bhara Kahu Bypass Project Amidst Political Transition
The Bhara Kau bypass project, initiated during the tenure of the Shehbaz Sharif-led PDM government, was completed in just 10 months, thanks to the personal interest of the then-prime minister, who inaugurated it shortly before the conclusion of his term in July this year. The project stands as a testament to efficient execution amid the challenges of a political transition.