ISLAMABAD - The construction and land acquisition work on all portions of the Western Route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor is under way and it is expected the major work on the Route would be completed by next year.

The shortest of all CPEC routes is Western Alignment of the CPEC which is 2,463 km in length and starts from Khunjrab, passing through Burhan (Hakla), DI Khan (Yarik), Zhob, Quetta,Surab and Hoshab and terminates at Gwadar.

An official of Planning Commission told APP that the Western Routes' 615 kilometer Khunjrab-Raikot section has already been completed while Havelian- Abotabad-Manshehra (40 km) section will be completed by May, 2018. He said work on construction of all five sections of Hakla-D.I.Khan Expressway has begun.

This project is an important part of Western Route of CPEC and the 285 km-long Motorway will be completed in two years at a cost of more than Rs 142 billion. He said that the project alignment starts at Hakla, near Tarnol interchange on M-1 and passes through Fateh Jhang, Mianwali, Kundal and ends at Yarak at Indus Highway (N-55). He said that the alignment of motorway passes through developing areas and its construction will generate new employment opportunities.

Availability of high-speed transportation will pave way for improvement of health and education sectors as well, and local produces will easily be taken to the big markets. He said that ground breaking of the up-gradation of Zhob-Mughalkot section was performed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2015.

He said that rehabilitation of D.I.Khan-Mughalkot section of N-50 would be completed by 2018. Moreover, he said that dualization of 531 km D.I.Khan to Kuchlak section of N-50 would be operational by 2020.

The objective of the CPEC is to promote trade ties with neighboring countries Central Asian States and South Asian countries, which will ultimately prepare the make Pakistan a trade hub in this whole region, he said. Similarly, the Sorab-Hoshab highway forms an important link on the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and has been completed at an estimated cost of Rs 22 billion.

The highway is 449 kilometers long and links the Gwadar port to the north. The official said that with the completion of the highway, the distance time from Gwadar to Quetta has been reduced from 48 hours to only 10 hours.