RAHIM YAR KHAN: Despite the completion of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bridge (HHSKB) over the River Indus seven years ago, the construction of its two approach roads is yet to complete.

However, the officials concerned expect that the roads would be completed in 2024.

The bridge was completed in 2015 with the funds provided by the United Arab Emirates authorities mainly to facilitate movement of the UAE’s royals from Rahim Yar Khan district to the hunting areas in Rojhan tehsil near Arabi Tibba in Rajanpur district.

The 1,032 meters long bridge could not be approached by ordinary vehicles due to the rough terrain and poor road infrastructure in the area.

Last week, South Punjab Communications and Works (C&W) Secretary Altaf Baloch visited the area, where he was briefed on the progress on construction work of two approach roads by officials of the Punjab Highway Department (PHD), Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and Nespak.

Officials say the project may take two more years to complete

The secretary ordered the concerned departments to complete the roads construction work at the earliest.

Highways Executive Engineer Syed Husnain Zaidi told Dawn that one of the 32-foot-wide approach roads was being constructed from Minchan Spur to HHSKB, while the other having 11km length would link Rojhan city to the bridge.

He said the main purpose of these roads was to connect the Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) with the Indus Highway (N-55), so that RY Khan district could not only be connected with Rajanpur district, but also with Dera Bugti and Sui areas of Balochistan.

He said that after the completion of these approach roads in June 2024, the existing 124km distance between RY Khan and Rojhan would be reduced to only 44km.

He said that River Diversion Work (RDW) was in progress and the main creek of the River Indus would be narrowed through developing a new spur to complete the approach roads.

He said that during the rainy season the construction work of the approach roads had to be suspended due to high flow in the river, adding that the departments concerned would resume the work after around six months.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022

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