MURREE: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the National Highway Authority to get Murree Expressway project evaluated through Chinese experts to make it sustainable against snowfall, land sliding, and erosion.
During a briefing by the NHA on rehabilitation of Murree Expressway here, the prime minister pointed out that frequent damage to the road and retaining wall raised questions on the design and quality of the work.
Citing quality of construction work on Hazara Motorway as a “treat to watch”, he said the NHA should consult the contractor of the said road to provide consultancy on how to avoid further wastage of public money on the project.
The prime minister also instructed to assign an investigation to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the award of the contract and fix responsibility for the poor quality of the work.
He asked the NHA to immediately stop work on the project unless the Chinese company evaluate the project and provide guidelines to move ahead. He called for replicating the Hazara Motorway model to ensure better quality of work.
On the occasion, the prime minister was informed that a Geo-tech consultant has been engaged for the project who had served the Hazara Motorway project.
It was informed that the project was completed with delay in 2008 owing to the acquisition of forest land and difficult terrain.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif observed that the damage to the retaining wall had become a permanent feature and reiterated his call for engaging a consultant to suggest the specifications of the road.
He said instead of allowing the mushroom growth of kiosks and restaurants, two proper rest areas should be developed at equal distances to provide quality services to the tourists.
He also directed the authorities concerned to curb the illegal construction activity in Jhika Gali.
It was told that the previous government had allowed vertical construction in the area like that of Lahore and that the administration had identified 575 buildings violating the bylaws.
The prime minister directed a complete survey of such construction and sought a detailed presentation.
Regarding the New Murree, he said a consultant firm from the countries like Switzerland should be engaged to suggest a development plan for the area without damaging the natural beauty. The consultant should suggest good interventions for the tourists like the cable transport to discourage the movement of vehicles to the tourist resort.
He also instructed the administration to ensure proper testing of the existing cable car to prevent the recurrence of any accident as took place in the recent past.