MULTAN: The National Highway Authority is going to open the Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) for light traffic from Thursday (today).

NHA central zone (Punjab) head of communication Sibtain Raza Lodhi said that the project was formally inaugurated on Tuesday. He said soon heavy traffic would also be allowed to use the expressway.

The inauguration ceremony was held in Islamabad during the 9th meeting of joint coordination committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Built in 39 months, the six lane M-5 is 392 kilometers long. The China State Engineering Company executed the project which has 12 service areas, 10 rest areas, 54 bridges, 10 flyovers, 426 underpasses and bridge over Sutlej river. Travel time between Multan and Sukkur will reduce to three hours and 15 minutes from eight hours through the national highway.

According to NHA sources, the Chinese government wanted a major opening ceremony as it was a vital project under the CPEC but the Pakistani government was reluctant. They said although the tendering process of service and rest areas had been completed but so far no facility, including the petrol pump, is available en-route.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2019