ISLAMABAD-The inauguration of Thakot-Havelian Expressway of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been delayed due to the ongoing corona pandemic.

An 80 kilometre long portion from Mansehra to Thakot was set to be completed in the last week of February 2020.

However, when contacted the project director Ashfaq Ahmed Khan informed that the construction work has almost been completed and project is ready for handing over and taking over—a formal transfer of any road by contractor to the custodian.

He, however, informed that the same process could not be initiated due to the ongoing corona pandemic because movement is curtailed due to lockdown in the country.

The said portion is a part of 120 kilometre long expressway being constructed by M/s China Communications Construction Company Ltd under CPEC that is divided into two sections, a 40 kilometre long Havelian to Manshera section and 80 kilometre long Manshera to Thakot section.

The first 40km long six lane access controlled section had been completed last year and inaugurated by the Prime Minister Imran Khan while rest of the 80km was to be completed in the last week of February 2020 that is a Class-II Highway.

The said 120km Havelian-Thakot expressway project is linked with Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-1) at Burhan Interchange via 65km long Hazara Expressway completed with the funding of Asian Development Bank.

The project is a part of the northern alignment of CPEC known as KKH Phase II and it is an integral part of said multibillion bilateral initiative, which was started by the last government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz under the leadership of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, sources at different projects of NHA informed reliably that most of the ongoing projects slowed down due to ongoing pandemic as the respective provincial governments announced lockdowns to avoid the spread of corona virus.

“Besides delay in the projects, there is a possibility of huge revenue loss as well due to this pandemic,” a senior officer of finance wing explained; “The toll plazas and rest areas operators would submit their claims for compensations and NHA will have to entertain them according to rules.”

When contacted, NHA’s spokesperson Capitan (R) Mushtaq Ahmed said that everything is disturbed due to ongoing situation but the road authority is trying to do maximum possible progress on its projects.

Regarding revenue loss, he said the claims if received would be settled according to respective law after rationalising them.