Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate today (Monday) the second section of the M4 motorway which will stretch from Faisalabad to Multan upon completion.
The M4 motorway is divided into four segments: the 58km Faisalabad-Gojra section, which has already been opened for traffic; the 62km Gojra-Shorkot section, which Nawaz will inaugurate today and is expected to be completed by 2019; the 64km Shorkot-Dinpur section and the 45km Khanewal-Multan section.
Last month, Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had signed a loan agreement of $178 million for construction of the Gojra-Shorkot section. The United Kingdom will also fund the construction, for which it will provide $90.7 million as a grant. The UK will disburse funds through the ADB. The government will invest the counterpart share of $46 million (Rs4.85 billion), bringing the total cost of the project to $315 million (Rs33.2 billion).
Once the M4 is completed, it will link the southern parts of Punjab with the north through already established networks of motorways. The motorway will extend the M1, M2 and M3 southward and shorten the distance between Multan and the twin-cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Besides decongesting the country’s overburdened transport infrastructure, the M4 is expected to boost trade and travel while reducing time and money from the textile hub Faisalabad to Multan, a major trade centre.
It is likely to open up new opportunities for the residents of Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Shorkot by providing faster access to bigger markets.
The motorway is also a step towards positioning Pakistan as a transit artery for goods moving between Karachi-Gwadar in the south and Torkham on the northern border with Afghanistan via the country’s major business and population centres. It will eventually link ports with the landlocked regions of Central Asia.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2015.