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NHA says Lowari Tunnel will be ready in three years

ISLAMABAD, Oct 22: The construction work on the Lowari Tunnel is underway and the project is expected to be completed within three years. nhaAn official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) informed APP here that the work on the project started in September 2005. The original tunnel measuring 8,150 metres was excavated by January 2009. However, additional excavation to widen the tunnel is being carried out due to conversion of the project from a rail tunnel to a road tunnel. The official said that more than 1,570-metre portion of the tunnel has been widened, and the overall progress has crossed 45 percent. To a question, he said that Lowari Tunnel was crucial for the people of Chitral because it was the only road link for the people of the area with the rest of the country. Moreover, this road tunnel will also facilitate access to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, and the country’s trade, tourism and industry will benefit from it, he said. He said that work on the tunnel had to be stopped from time to time due to financial constraints and poor situation of law and order, but steps were being taken now to remove all hindrances in the way of the mega project. The official said that the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also pledged to allocate Rs 3 billion from the provincial Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for early completion of the Lowari Tunnel. He said that when work on the project began, it was to be constructed in two phases. In the first phase, the 8.54-kilometre-long tunnel was to be constructed along with access roads, and in the second phase, a railway track was to be laid. Talking about the dimensions of the tunnel, he said that the main passage was 7.14 metres in height and 7.55 metres in width, with a 9.3km-long access road from Dir and 9.2km-long road from Drosh in Chitral. The auxiliary tunnel was two kilometres long. However, in October 2009, the government decided to change its design from that of a rail tunnel to a road passage. Work on the project was discontinued again in June 2011, primarily due to financial constraints, he said. Being one of the longest tunnels in Asia, the Lowari Tunnel was of great national importance and would contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the people of the area. After its completion, rich mineral and other natural resources of the area could be exploited, which would promote trade, he said. When completed, the tunnel would cut down the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar to only seven hours.]]>

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1 Comment
  1. Fardad Ali Shah says

    Instead of repeating the same old statistics and enumerating its importance again and again, which by now even a child knows, the NHA should ensure that when the Lowari pass is closed for traffic the tunnel is opened for eight hours a day every day for simultaneously both way traffic as was done by the army engineers two years back. The remaining 16 hours can be used to continue the construction work. Last year was extremely torturous. Opening the tunnel on three days only and that too for one hour one way traffic was an exercise in pure sadism, also extremely dangerous from the security point of view with hundreds of vehicles gushing in at a time. Hope the ridiculous arrangement of last year will not be repeated this year.

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