Byline: Kashif Abbasi
ISLAMABAD -- 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.
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.