DERA GHAZI KHAN - Japanese Taisei Corporation has started revamping of 33-km-long dual carriage way, Rakhi Gaj-Bewata Section of the National Highways (N-70).

According to official sources, the project is being funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and will be completed at a cost of Rs23 billion. The road also includes 1-km-long steel bridge, first of its kind in the country.

The project is likely to be officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the third week of December and all arrangements have been finalised in this regard.

The sources informed that the project is vital for the Eastern and Western routes of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as the road will be connected with the CPEC through Balochistan district Qila Saifullah. The NHA section N-70, passing from DG Khan to Qila Saifullah, acts as the shortest route to connect Balochistan with other provinces of the country. Coming from Fort Munro Road of DG Khan, this 33-km-long road passes through deserted hilly areas, consists dangerous turns.

In 1998, during the reign of President Sardar Farooq Leghari, sincere efforts were made for up-gradation of the road but the efforts remained unsuccessful. However, in 2008, the JICA showed interest to invest in the project which was later approved by the government of Pakistan. After getting approval, the Japanese corporation started work on the project in the month of July and the project will be completed in July 2019. With the improvement of the road, the East-West corridor will be shortened about 200-km. The project will also contribute towards safe and effective transportation, especially heavy vehicles and enhance socio-economic condition of the entire area.

Uniqueness of the project is that it includes 1-km-long steel bridge, the very first of its kind being introduced in Pakistan. Maintenance of the bridge will also be reduced to zero as the bridge will be built strong enough to resist severe effects of bad weather. Moreover, the bridge will be brought from Japan in parts which will be installed at the site.

Project Director Saulat Bhatti said that the project contract has been awarded a Japanese company Taisei Corporation, adding that another big project in Pakistan “Kohat Tunnel” is also on the company’s credit.

He said that the NHA and the JICA will supervise the project.