NHA plans to reconstruct 230kms of Karakoram Highway under ‘new design’

ISLAMABAD (PR): Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA), Shahid Ashraf Tarrar has said that Pakistan-China economic corridor will boost, trade, tourism, industry and agriculture of the entire region.

He expressed these view while talking to a representative delegation of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. He said that communications sector has been the top priority of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

The delegation was given a detailed briefing on Raikot-Islamabad Highway. In this occasion, Member Planning NHA Raja Nosherwan, General Manager Design Asim Ameen and other high officials were also present.

While highlighting the significance of the said project, the Chairman said that the Prime Minister is putting special emphasis on China-Pak Economic Corridor so that trade ties with China and Central States could be further strengthened and the region could witness rapid economic growth and prosperity.

The Chairman NHA said that this highway is also important because four new dams close to this highway namely; Thakot, Pattan, Dassu and Diamer Basha have also been planned. He said that these dams will help the country overcome its power shortage.

The delegation was told that 487 kilometers long Raikot-Islamabad Highway project is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on which a memorandum of understanding was signed between Pakistan’s Ministry of Communications and China Road and Bridge Corporation on 19 February this year in China.

A recently inaugurated tunnel located between Gilgit city and Jaghlote, at Bhoop Sing Pari. Photo: Hidayatullah Akhtar
A recently inaugurated tunnel located between Gilgit city and Jaghlote, at Bhoop Sing Pari. Photo: Hidayatullah Akhtar

Under the project, Raikot-Islamabad Highway will start off from Pak-China border and will connect to the existing Karakoram Highway and reach Islamabad and will be further extended to Gwadar in the near future.

Chinese ships will use this route as a trade corridor for their world trade through sea because the Kashghar-Gwadar route is much shorter than Kashghar-Beijing route, and by taking on this route, the ships will save their travel time by two weeks.

The realignment of the 24 kilometers of the existing Karakoram Highway is also part of this project, and this highway will be 2 lane from Khajrab to Mansehra, 4 lane from Mansehra to Islamabad and 6-lane from Islamabad to Gwadar. Work on its feasibility study is in full swing and will be completed by June this year.

To accommodate the four proposed dams along this highway, the National Highway Authority plans to reconstruct 230 kilometers of the Karakoram highway under the new design.

The members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly thanked the Chairman NHA and forwarded some valuable suggestions regarding ongoing projects.The delegation included Members Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Saeed Afzal, Ibadat Ali, Assistant Executive Engineer Gilgit-Baltistan Council Secretariat Mahmood Hussain.

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