ISLAMABAD: The executive board of the National Highway Authority (NHA) on Thursday approved PC-1 of two mega projects worth Rs19.545 billion for Chitral with the aim to boost economy, trade and tourism activities in the region.
The PC-1 seeks to widen and improve Chitral-Shandur road with an estimated cost of Rs19 billion.
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The construction and repair of four bridges and approach roads that were damaged by recent floods and the 2015 earthquake would also be rehabilitated. This would cost Rs545 million.
The meeting was informed that Rs200 million had been earmarked for improvement of Chitral-Shandur road during the current financial year.
Meanwhile, sharing details of the projects, NHA spokesman Kashif Zaman told The Express Tribune that deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif announced the construction of Chitral-Shandur road last year, adding that it was a long-term demand of the people of Chitral.
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According to him, due to bad surface of the road which is not wide enough either, there have been frequent road accidents that have claimed many precious lives.
“Moreover, recent floods and the 2005 earthquake have also adversely affected the road at its various reaches,” he added.
“This [new one] is going to be an all-weather road and will also provide an alternative route to CPEC during the winter season when the Silk route is closed due to snowfall. With it, people can easily travel to Chitral throughout the year,” he said.
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After Lowari Tunnel “this new project, which is a vital link between two major national highways, N-45 and N-35, will be another best possible route for travelling to the region and will save travel time as well,” he said.
The project includes construction of 23 major two-lane bridges, with 100m right of way. The 153km road will be completed in four sections namely, Chitral-Pret (39km), Pret-Booni (40km), Booni-Shaidas (38km) and Shaidas-Shandur (35km).
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The project would be completed in two years. The road will start from Chitral and run towards north parallel to Mastuj/Kunhar River till Booni.
According to the NHA spokesperson, the four bridges along with approach roads in Chitral, damaged by floods and earthquake in 2015, included in the PC-1 are Muzhgole Bridge (60m) with approach road (0.5km), Osaik Bridge (90m) with approach road (0.8Km), Pokel Bridge (45m ) with approach road (0.4km) and repair of Churan Bridge.
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