DERA GHAZI KHAN: Work on eight steel bridges along the 33-kilometre long Rakhi Gaj-Bewata section of the N-70 highway, which will connect Balochistan to Punjab, has entered its final stage of completion. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Japan.
The total cost of the project, which is slated for completion in August, is Rs13.75 billion. This is the second largest project of its kind in Asia and the very first in Pakistan.
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Reportedly, in 2016, the National Highway Authority, in collaboration with Japan, initiated the project in an effort to make the hilly terrain, leading from Rakhi Gaj to Bewata, safe for commuters and traffic.
Steel is being imported for the bridges which will boast pillars taller than 150 feet. As a result of constructing these bridges and the interprovincial highway Quetta Road, residents of South Punjab will be able to easily access tourist spots in the area. This, in turn, will promote tourism at the Koh-e-Sulaiman Range.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Federal Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul stated that the project is a masterpiece of modern architecture and a gift from the Japanese government to the people of this area.
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Construction of the bridges will not only promote trade, but will also boost tourism, she said. “Above all, locals living in tribal areas will be able to easily access medical and other facilities,” she maintained.
N-70 Section 2 Project Engineer Hafizullah Khan revealed that work on the eight steel bridges has been completing, while laying down of the asphalt is still underway. He added that this process has been delayed due to the recent rains.
He stated that work will be completed by August 31. Gul also highlighted that construction work will not disrupt traffic during the Koh-e-Sulaiman Tourist Festival scheduled between August 23 and August 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2019.
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