ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate the much-awaited Lowari Tunnel Project on Thursday.
The tunnel is located on Nowshera-Mardan-Malakand-Chakdara-Chitral National Highway (N-45). It was completed at a cost of about Rs27 billion.
Inauguration of the main 8.5km-long tunnel and a secondary tunnel of 1.9km will provide all-weather connectivity to Chitral with the rest of the country.
A Korean construction company Sambu has constructed the tunnel.
The project includes construction of two tunnels, the major tunnel measuring 8.5km and another small tunnel, at a little distance from the main tunnel, measuring 1.9km.
There are two access roads of 35km length with an access road of 17km in reaching the main tunnel and an 18km access road from Chitral to the tunnel. There are also 12 bridges built on these roads.
This is one of the mega highway projects initiated in 2005 during the government of Pervez Musharraf. But the work was stopped sometimes due to the shortage of funds and at others due to change in design and security reasons.
Design of the project was changed a number of times.
Work on the plan started in 2013 when the incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took over the government.
Construction of Lowari Tunnel had been a long-running demand of the people of Chitral.
The project will enhance economic growth through accelerated trade activity, generate employment opportunities for locals, promote tourism and reduce travel time for all kinds of traffic, spokesman of the National Highway Authority Kashif Zaman said.
Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2017