Sunday, 12 August 2012 20:27:59
45 pc work on Lowari tunnel completed
ISLAMABAD, Aug 12 (APP): Forty-five per cent construction work
of Lowari Tunnel project on Nowshera-Dir-Chitral Road (N-45) has
been completed against expenditure of over 6 billion and the project
is likely to be completed in July 2017 subject to provision of funds
amounting to Rs 12 billion.
The project, on completion, would facilitate all-weather year-
round transportation and it is not only vital for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
but it would open new vistas of development and would establish
durable road links with Afghanistan and Central Asian States, an
official in Ministry of Communications told APP on Sunday.
He said that when the construction of Lowari Tunnel started in
2005 it was planned to be undertaken in two phases. In the first
phase, the 8.54 km long tunnel was to be constructed with access
roads, while in the second phase a railway track was to be laid.
The main tunnel has 7.14 meter maximum height and 7.55 meter
maximum width.There are two access roads on both sides of the tunnel
i.e. from Dir and from Darosh, of 9.3 km and 9.2 km, respectively.
The auxiliary tunnel is two km long.
The project could not be completed by October 2008 as
scheduled and in October 2009,the present government decided to
change the project design-from rail tunnel to road tunnel.
Under the road tunnel project the consultants were asked by
the NHA to make necessary modifications in the project design.
The revised PC-1, with escalated project cost of Rs 17.602
billion was prepared,he added.
However he said that work on the project was discontinued
again in June 2011, primarily due to financial constraints. There
was an allocation of Rs 164 million under the 2010-11 PSDP but most
of the funds were not released.
He said that being the longest tunnel in Asia, the Lowari
Tunnel is of great national importance and would contribute to
socio-economic development of the area.After its completion rich
minerals and other natural resources could be exploited optimally,
which would result in promoting trade and industry, besides tourism,
in the region,he added.
Lowari Tunnel will open up the Chitral valley to the world
establishing durable road links with the Central Asian Republics and
Afghanistan. It would reduce current 14-hour drive from Chitral to
Peshawar by almost half.