Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited on Saturday the under-construction Zulam Kot twin-tube tunnel on Swat Expressway near Chakdara.
The 1,300-meter-long twin tube tunnel, as part of the Swat Motorway Project, is expected to be completed by December, 2018, reducing the travel time between Islamabad and Chakdara from four hours to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The 81-Km-long Swat Expressway forms part of trade corridor, being executed by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The army chief appreciated quality of construction work being undertaken by the FWO. He also acknowledged its contributions towards nation-building with many feathers in their cap including the Karakoram Highway (KKH).
Speaking on the occasion, Gen Qamar said the under-construction project will help bring socio-economic development in Pakistan, which he added was key to progress and prosperity of any country.
The DG FWO and Corps Commander Peshawar were also present during the visit.
The motorway is being built by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government under the Public-Private Partnership Act 2014 and is expected to cost an estimated Rs38 billion.
When complete, the expressway will connect the Colonel Sher Khan Interchange on the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway to Chakdara, after tunnelling its way through mountains in Palai and Ala Dhand. Around two kilometres of the expressway falls within the vicinity of District Nowshera, another 18 kilometres pass through Swabi, 40 kilometres through Mardan and 21 kilometres in Malakand.
The expressway will be constructed on the pattern of the motorway with as many as four lanes which can be extended to six lanes later as per the need.