Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi performed the ground-breaking of the Rs 12.5 billion four–lane Rawalpindi-Kahuta project Saturday.

The prime minister was briefed by the DG National Highway Authority about the scope of the 28km road and informed that construction on the strategically important link would begin soon and complete by May 2019.

The project would benefit a population of over two million and cater to a traffic of 14,000 vehicles per day. The average cost benefit of the road has been estimated to be Rs 4.6 billion a year over the next 25 years.

The road expansion starting from Kaak pul on the Islamabad Expressway would include a 6km long Bypass at Sihala and a nine-kilometre long 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, would cut down on transportation costs, reduce travel time, particularly for agricultural products and other perishable items.

The project for dualisation, rehabilitation 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 100kms per hour while in hilly areas it would be 80km per hour.