Pakistan PM breaks ground on massive highway project

New road will provide the shortest route for traffic between Rawalakot, Kotli and twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad

Kahuta: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi performed the ground-breaking of the Rs12.5 billion (Dh415 million) Rawalpindi-Kahuta project on Saturday, providing a fast link between the Federal Capital and Jammu Kashmir.

The PM was briefed by the National Highway Authority’s director-general about the scope of the four-lane, 28-kilometre road and informed that construction on the strategically important link would be complete by May 2019.

The project would benefit a population of over two million and cater to traffic of 14,000 vehicles per day. The average cost-benefit of the road has been estimated to be Rs4.6 billion a year over the next 25 years.

The road expansion starting from Kaak pul on the Islamabad Expressway would include a 6 km long Bypass at Sihala and a 9km bypass at Kahuta, before linking with Azad Pattan road in Jammu Kashmir.

The project would provide shortest route for traffic between Rawalakot, Kotli and twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, would cut down on transportation costs, reduce travel time, particularly for agricultural products and other perishable items.

The project for dualization, rehabilitation and improvement of the 28.4 kilometre-long section has been divided in two packages.

In the first package, a 16.5km section will be built from the Kaak pul Interchange to Trikiyan. In the second package, a 11.9km stretch from Trikiyan to Kahuta will be built.

The project includes a four-lane fly-over at the Sihala railway crossing, Sihala and Kahuta bypass besides three bridges, one underpass and 50 box culverts.

The Prime Minister was informed that each 3.65 metres wide lane would have an inner shoulder of 0.6 metres and an outer shoulder of 2.5m. The road has been designed for a maximum speed in plain areas of 100kms per hour while in hilly areas it would be 80km/h.

The commuters have been demanding up gradation of the existing two lane wide road, without any shoulder and was insufficient to accommodate the increasing traffic volume, leading to congestion and accidents.

The Prime Minister was accompanied with Minister for Health Saira Afzal Tarrar , Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.


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