ISLAMABAD, Dec 20: The National Highway Authority (NHA) has entered into an agreement with a Chinese company for reconstruction of a section of the Karakoram Highway in Hunza which was damaged by landslides and water from a natural lake.

The $275 million project will be executed by China Road and Bridge Corporation.

Debris from massive landslides at Attabad had damaged portions of the highway and also blocked the flow of Hunza River, creating a natural lake that in turn submerged other parts of the road. The lake submerged 25km of the highway.

An NHA official told Dawn that an 18km section of the damaged road would be realigned whereas a 7km portion of the highway would be rebuilt. The project would be completed in two years.

It would be sent to the Planning Commission for approval and reconstruction would begin after the project was approved, he added.

The official said the Chinese company was already engaged in widening and rehabilitation of Raikot-Khunjrab section of KKH. It had carried out a survey of the destroyed portion of the highway and proposed that by bringing down the level of the lake by 30 metres, a portion of the submerged road could be rescued and a new alignment would have to be made for the rest of the portion.

The NHA and the Chinese company discussed the matter and agreed to take up the project.

The project includes construction of two tunnels having a length of 4485 metres and 1225 metres, respectively, construction of seven high-level bridges with each 1360 metres long, two small, 60-metre-long bridges and 70 culverts.

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