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Habibabad flyover – a story of undue haste

Habibabad flyover – a story of undue haste

KASUR: The Habibabad flyover on GT Road near Pattoki is being repaired, just seven months after its inauguration.

The Rs831 million bridge, a project of the National Highways Authority (NHA), over the railway line near Adhan village was assigned to a contractor of the Frontier Works Organisation in a BOT (build-operate-transfer) contract.

Army engineer-in-chief Lt-Gen Khalid Ashraf inaugurated the 867 metre long and 27.6 metre wide four-lane flyover on April 15, 2015.

The new bridge was built to cope with increasing traffic while the earlier old bridge, built in 1986, was insufficient to cope with traffic.

The new bridge developed cracks two weeks after it was inaugurated. The NHA, after a thorough inquiry, ordered the contractor to rebuild the flyover at its own cost.

Two months ago, the bridge was closed for traffic, while the motorists were redirected to the old bridge.

A technical adviser told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that the substandard work on the flyover was the outcome of undue haste to complete the structure in a minimum time.

He said when the road was dug up to three feet for the bridge, the extent of wet soil conditions showed that some water channel moved beneath the road layer and caused depression.

He rejected the plea that substandard material was used in the construction.

Project Manager Tasawar Kamal told Dawn that they had opened a single side of the bridge for the vehicles, while the other side would be ready for traffic in two weeks.

He said that depression in the bridge occurred as there was enough underground water making the soil too much wet.

Mr Kamal said that the material used in reconstruction was being regularly tested by UET and Wapda labs.

He said the bridge had been designed for the vehicles carrying load up to 30 tons, but it was unfortunate that the vehicles with 200 tons also used the bridge.

The bridge is the only option for the trucks that come from Phoolnagar industrial zone. Motorists demanded that the repair work be completed soon.Union Council 75 chairman Mehar Asif said as the chief minister was to inaugurate the flyover, the contractor built it in haste.

He said that owing to haste, some technical flaws damaged the project. He demanded an inquiry into the reports of substandard material.

NHA General Manager Naveed Wahla told Dawn that heavy rains at the final stage of the completion of the project had damaged the project.

He said the project was funded, designed and constructed under the BOT contract, so the contractor was reconstructing the damaged flyover. He said the contractor would collect its share from the money collected at Pattoki Toll Plaza.

He said that overloading was one of the major factors behind the failure of the flyover and the NHA was raising the issue at many platforms.

He said it was the need of the hour to raise awareness among the masses to use roads according to their capacity and the government ought to set new parameters and designs.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2016

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