KAHUTA: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi performed the ground-breaking of the Rs12.5 billion four - lane Rawalpindi-Kahuta project on Saturday, providing a fast link between the federal capital and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a gathering at the inauguration for the upgrading of the Rawalpindi-Kahuta road on Saturday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the PML-N has completed extraordinary development works across the country.
He said though three major parties had governments in their provinces, yet the pace of progress and development in Punjab was far ahead.
He added that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government believed in serving the masses and not in mere point-scoring.
He particularly mentioned the PML-N top projects of Metro and Orange Line and said these showed commitment of the government towards the welfare of the masses.
The prime minister said initiation of work on Rawalpindi-Kahuta road was vital for the progress of this area. He said there had been no major development in the area in the past and these small cities and towns did not progress as they should have.
The commuters had been demanding an upgrade of the existing two-lane road, which was without any shoulder and insufficient to accommodate the increasing traffic volume, leading to congestion and accidents.
He said the linkage of motorways and expressways with those being built on the other side of River Jhelum would bring about economic activity and prosperity for the people of the area. He said initiation of the project was yet another promise, fulfilled by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the people would soon see its real impact.
Earlier National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Jawwad Rafique Malik was briefed by the prime minister about the range of the 28km road and informed that construction on the strategically important link would begin soon and complete by May 2019. He also spoke about the on-going and future projects of NHA.
He said the project would benefit a population of over two million and cater to traffic of 14,000 vehicles per day. The average cost benefit of the road has been estimated to be Rs4.6 billion a year over the next 25 years.
The road expansion, starting from Kaak Pul on the Islamabad Expressway, would include a 6 km long bypass at Sihala and a 9 km bypass at Kahuta, before linking with Azad Pattan road in Azad Jammu Kashmir.
The project would provide shortest route for traffic between Rawalakot, Kotli and twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, cutting down on transportation costs, reducing travel time, particularly for agricultural products and other perishable items.
The project for dual-track, restoration and improvement of the 28.4 kilometre-long section has been divided in two packages.
In the first package, a 16.5km section will be built from the Kaak pul Interchange to Trikiyan. In the second package, a 11.9 km stretch from Trikiyan to Kahuta will be built.
The project includes a four-lane fly-over at the Sihala railway crossing, Sihala and Kahuta bypass besides three bridges, one underpass and 50 box culverts.
The prime minister was informed that each 3.65 metres wide lane would have an inner shoulder of 0.6 metres and an outer shoulder of 2.5m. The road has been designed for a maximum speed in plain areas of 100km/hr while in hilly areas it would be 80km/hr.
The prime minister was accompanied by Minister for Health Saira Afzal Tarrar, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Minister for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2018.
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