ISLAMABAD - In order to improve highways safety, National Highways Authority (NHA) has planned to establish Emergency Response Centres on every 50 km along the national highways.

Allowed truck load in Pakistan is 12 tons but the trucks are carrying 24-30 tons in complete violation of the rules which is badly affecting the roads, NHA GM Ikramus Saqlain Haider said this while sharing its views during a meeting held at Karachi, said a press release issued here yesterday.

The stakeholders’ consultation meeting on Annual Road Maintenance Plan 2015-16 was held with NHA Member South-Zone Imran Yousafzai in the chair. NHA’s Regional GMs from Sindh and Balochistan gave presentations on maintenance work in their respective regions.

Representatives of the Truck Owners Association, Filling Stations Association and NHA’s contractors attended the meeting.

Haider said that primary objective of such gatherings is to get valuable feedback from other stakeholders to further improve the highway safety mechanism.

In his address, Imran Yousafzai said that the main objectives of NHA are to develop high-speed North-South economic corridor, provide linkages with Gwadar port and enhance regional connectivity. He said, current network of NHA is 12131 km and current length of motorways is 690km, which will be increased to 2000 km in next three years. Work on Sukkur-Multan motorway (387 km) will start this month, he added. NHA network is catering for 80% commercial traffic of the entire country.

NHA GM Sindh- South Sami-ur-Rehman informed the meeting that work on Karachi-Hyderabad motorway is going on. The revised PC-1 for Lyari Expressway has been approved by the government. The work has restarted on North Bound of Lyari Expressway and will be completed by next year. He said Karachi Northern Bypass is being widened at ICI chowk. Indus Highway from Sehwan to Retodero has been dualized. Hyderabad to Moro section of N-5 has also been improved, he added.

The meeting was informed, overloading is badly damaging the roads and NHA does not get any funds for road maintenance. It meets the expenditure from its revenue collection. There is a need for greater awareness among heavy vehicle users to follow the permissible load limits.

The representatives of various transport groups in their remarks appreciated the effort of NHA. They said such meetings are important in sharing the views and suggestions for further improvement of road safety. They also proposed that rate of toll tax may be lowered as an incentive for avoiding axel load violations. They also stressed upon the need for training of drivers.