PESHAWAR: The groundbreaking ceremony of the Swat Expressway is expected in September and will prove to be a game-changer for the province. The road will not only provide benefits, but will also create development prospects for the province, a handout issued on Saturday read.
The expressway is a mega project which will be launched by the K-P government under the Public Private Partnership Act 2014. It will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs38 billion over two years.
The handout added the 81-kilometre long expressway will connect Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway with Chakdara, tunneling its way through mountains at Palai and Ala Dhand. Two kilometres of the expressway falls in the vicinity of Nowshera district, 18 kilometres in Swabi, 40 kilometres in Mardan and 21 kilometres in Malakand. The width of the expressway will be 80 metres.
According to officials of the Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority, the length of the tunnel was estimated at about two kilometres. With the completion of the Swat Expressway, the journey from Karnal Sher Khan Interchange to Chakdara will take only 45 minutes. According to present estimates, more than 18,000 vehicles will be able to use this route on a daily basis, generating direct and indirect revenue.
The document added the expressway will be constructed with four lanes and extended to six lanes later on.
Interchanges on the expressway will be constructed at Dhobian, Ismaila, Bakshalay, Katlang, Palai and Chakdara. It will provide access to more than 40 villages which were previously inaccessible.
The PKHA officials said the road is also of strategic importance as it will provide easy and fast access to remote areas.
The land acquisition for the project is in its final phases with more than 70% of the work being completed by the revenue department. Moreover, every effort has been made to protect forests of adjacent areas and less than 100 homes will be affected by the entire project. The project has been handed over to the Frontier Works Organisation under the Build, Operate and Transfer Scheme in the Public Private Partnership Act of 2014, the handout added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2016.