94pc work on Lowari tunnel completed, says NHA

Project Director Muhammad Ibrahim told APP that this project would provide 24 hours state of the art communication facilities to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Chitral including in harsh winter season. “The total cost of the Lowari Tunnel project was Rs26 billion against which Rs21 billion has been spent so far,” he explained. He said the work on Lowari Tunnel has been entered into last stage of its completion and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would be requested to inaugurate it next month. Terming it a gift of Prime Minister for people of KP and Chitral, he said PMLN government after coming into power had approved additional funds for Lowari Tunnel to ensure its completion as early as possible and that this timely decision has approved very successful. Ibrahim said over Rs13bn including Rs2bn in 2013-14, Rs3bn in 2014-15, Rs4bn in 2015-16 and Rs4bn in 2016-17 have been released by PMLN government for Lowari Tunnel that has immensely helped completion of the project. NHA has expedited work on Lowari Tunnel Project and efforts are being made to inaugurate it for traffic next month, he explained. The project upon completion would not only connect the far flung and inaccessible areas of Chitral with rest of the country but would help generate employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people besides promoting tourism, business and industrialization in these areas. Asked about the project’s physical progress, he said work had been completed on 8.5 Km (Main Tunnel) and 1.9 kilometers Tunnel (Short Tunnel) besides four bridges, links roads whereas pavement of 14 kilometers approach road on both sides of tunnel was almost completed. Ibrahim said all kinds of vehicular traffic would pass in the tunnels with 24 feet width and 16 feet height in all 24 hours even in harsh winter season in 40 kilometers speed. Chitral remains virtually in accessible during winter and the tunnel remained closed during harsh winter season due to heavy snowfall, disconnecting people of Chitral rest of the country and people are suffering a lot of problems to reach downward districts in winter season. With its completion, over 500,000 population of Chitral would benefit from the longest tunnel of Pakistan. The Project Director said upon fully operational, the tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar to only seven hours. “Normally a bus driver was spending two and half hours on Lowari Top before reaching Chitral and with construction of the tunnel would spend only 20 minutes to reach Chitral,” he added. The project is one of the three mega projects including, Peshawar Northern Bypass worth Rs21bn and Hazara Motorway costing Rs 22.1bn on which work was in full swing and would be fully operational this year. –APP]]>

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