The Government reviewed the program of the national highways/roads. While parting with wasteful expenditure on low-priority high sounding projects, the Government has re-prioritized the projects so as to yield greater economic benefits to the common man. The highways located in Baluchistan Province will now receive greater importance.
Higher level of funds have been provided for dualization of National Highway N-5 (Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar) which carries 56 per cent of the entire traffic of the country serving 80 per cent of our economic activities. In pursuance of this policy, contracts for the construction of additional carriageway and rehabilitation of the existing 170 Km of road have been awarded and a new bridge over river Chenab at Gujrat has been commissioned into service in July 1994.
Work on Hyderabad Bypass including a four-lane new bridge over river Indus has been speeded up and is expected to be opened to traffic in December, 1994.
In order to reduce the congestion of traffic In Lahore city and for quicker north-South movement of traffic, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of Lahore Bypass, in February, 1994. Work is to start on the project which includes a new six-lane bridge over River Ravi, for early completion.
Indus Highway is vital not only for defense of the country but also to open up West Bank of river Indus to greater economic activity. This project was conceived in early seventies but was abandoned in 1978. The Government is now giving higher priority to this project. Under Phase I & II, work on ten contracts covering a length of 823 kilometers of the Highway has been awarded. Under Phase III, remaining sections covering about 400 km and Kohat Tunnel will be taken up. Loan negotiations with OECF of Japan for Kohat Tunnel have been finalized. Contracts for these works will be awarded during 1994.
Karachi Khuzdar-Quetta Chamman Road
To materialize higher priority to infrastructure in Balochistan, the Government has provided larger funds to this project. Apart from benefiting the people of the province, this road provides the shortest route for Karachi port to Central Asian States. At present, it is a narrow road of low specifications. To cater for the heavy traffic, widening and improvement of this road has been taken up by the Government. Work on 308 km costing Rs. 2.77 billion has already been awarded.
This road which provides the main link to Iran is narrow and of low specifications. The Government has accorded top priority to this project. The missing link between Nankundi and Taftan (124 km) has been completed. Improvement of 168 km of road between Dalbandin-Nankundi costing Rs. 1986 million is in hand.
Makran Coastal Road
The Government has taken in land the design-work pertaining to the Makran Coastal Road. The proposed road will link Liari-Ormara-Pasni-Gwadar and Jiwani with Karachi. It will open up vistas of great economic opportunity for the entire country as well as for the people of this under-developed region
Contract for the construction of Ratodero-Shahdadkot-Quba Said Khan section (64 km) of the above Expressway has been awarded. The work is in progress. This Expressway will ultimately be linked with Gwadar Port. The feasibility study and design work of Gwadar-Khuzdar section is also nearly complete. This Expressway will provide a direct access to the port of Gwadar for Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces. With the construction of this modern highway, Central Asian Republics will be able to use the deep-water port of Gwadar.
Sukkur Bridge and Bypass
National Highway N-5 and N-65 are linked by the Sukkur Barrage Road Bridge which is very narrow and not suitable for heavy traffic. In order to cater for the increasing volume of traffic, a new bridge down-stream of the Barrage along with Sukkur By-pass has been ordered at a cost of US $ 40 million. Negotiations are at advanced stage with Asian Development Bank.
The National Highway Authority has also taken up the construction of road from Gharo to Keti Bunder for which a sum of Rs. 150 million has been provided in the fiscal year 1994-95. The construction work is in full swing.
For the development of Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, the Government has accorded high priority to the completion of Tall-Parachinar road. Rs. 100 million have been allocated during 1994-95 for the completion of this road. The Prime Minister has also directed to extend this road upto Afghanistan border.
Chitral and Dir Districts of NWFP are cut off from the rest of the country for over six months during the winter. The people are put to great test and discomfort when they have to travel to other parts of the country through Afghanistan during this period. In order to provide an all weather link between Chitral and the rest of Pakistan, early construction of the Lowari Tunnel is being planned, Sweden and Japan have expressed interest in financing and execution of the project. Swedish Government has financed the on-going feasibility study at a cost of US $ 1.5 million. On completion of this study, the Lowari Tunnel project will be taken in hand before the end of the current financial year.
Mass Transit Authority
The concentration of urban population in major cities like Karachi and Faisalabad has assumed such challenging proportions that public and private sector transport is unable to cope with the requirement. The Government has, therefore, decided to set up a Mass Transit Authority for upgrading the transport system initially at Karachi. It will be followed by similar projects to be undertaken in Lahore and Faisalabad.