ISLAMABAD-The National Highway Authority is working on multiple proposals to find out a permanent solution to growing traffic congestion on Murree Road in Bhara Kahu which includes an elevated flyover or a bypass.

The portion of Murree Road which passes through Bhara Kahu faces a lot of traffic congestion, especially during weekends in the summers when tourists head towards Murree.

According to an estimation of the NHA, around 4,000 vehicles pass through this road on daily basis while approximately a million vehicles cross the said bottleneck on special eves like Eids and Independence Day.

The Murree Road from Convention Centre, Islamabad to Lower Toppa, Murree falls under the control of NHA and it is considered as a gateway to scenic hilly stations i.e. Galliyat and Kashmir.

According to a press release issued by NHA on Wednesday, the authority has prepared two plans to ease the traffic flow at Bhara Kahu which includes Rs1 billion project of 3 kilometre-long bypass road to provide an alternate route and an Rs5 billion project of 2 kilometre-long elevated flyover. However, when contacted, the concerned circles inside the NHA informed that these projects had not been finalised yet but the authority was seriously considering both proposals simultaneously and a final decision would be taken after due consultation.

Bhara Kahu bypass is a long-promised project, which had initially been coined a couple of years ago on the directives of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Capital Development Authority (CDA) was mandated to execute it but due to civic agency’s financial constraints, the project was handed over to NHA. However, it could not be materialised during the tenure of the last government.

On the other side, according to sources, the idea to construct an elevated flyover was the brainchild of a property tycoon, who has his investments in the area and he had desired to bear the cost of the project but the said proposal could not attain finality as well due to a disagreement between the authority and the property giant on toll collection.

When contacted, Acting Member Administration NHA who is also its spokesperson Captain (R) Mushtaq Ahmed confirmed that the authority was going to opt for a project to end the bottleneck of Bara Kahu to ease the traffic flow.

“We are hopeful that the federal government would fund the flyover’s project from PSDP otherwise we will go on second option to construct it on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) bases”, he said. Replying to a question regarding the bypass project, he said: “Though it is cost effective as the land will be given by the CDA but there are a number of land disputes which can delay the project.”

Meanwhile, in addition to aforementioned long term projects, the NHA has also started a move to temporarily provide relief to commuters and conducted an anti-encroachment operation on Wednesday in which several signboards and kiosks were removed. Assistant Commissioner ICT Dr Faisal and General Manager NHA Mukhtar Ahmad Durrani monitored the operation while a heavy contingent of Islamabad police was also present on site to tackle any untoward situation. The NHA has also built two U-turns at the cost of Rs90 million and is preparing to widen the existing road with an amount of Rs40 million as a stopgap arrangement.