Islamabad - The Executive Board of the National Highway Authority (NHA) has approved the proposal for dualisation and improvement of Indus Highway (N-55) from Sarai Gambila to Kohat (128 km) and construction of a 4-lane access controlled motorway (49 km) between Yarik and Sagu.

The board met at the NHA head office yesterday with Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar in the chair, to review progress on countrywide highway schemes.

While giving details of the two projects, the chairman NHA informed the meeting that the additional carriageway between Sarai Gambila and Kohat would cost around Rs30 billion. It includes construction of 26 bridges with one major bridge on Kurrum River. He said Indus Highway (N-55) is 1,264km long that runs along the Indus River connecting port city Karachi with Kohat and Peshawar via D.G.Khan and D.I.Khan.

The highway being the second largest road connection (after G.T Road) provides an alternate North-South link while traversing 491km in Sindh, 360km in Punjab and 396km in KP, and connecting Rajanpur, D.G.Khan, D.I.Khan, Bannu, Kohat and Peshawar.

The highway, however, is now facing difficulties in coping with the ever-increasing traffic load especially the heavy vehicles due to its limited capacity. This has resulted in shifting some of its traffic load to G.T road (N-5), causing frequent traffic jams there. He said the dualisation of N-55 will provide safe, quick and more efficient movement of both passenger and commercial traffic.

The chairman also informed the meeting that the proposed motorway between Yarik and Sagu carried an added significance as it will eventually become part of the under-construction Western alignment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) near Yarik.  It will cost around Rs13 billion and provide an integral connection for the backward areas of southern KPK by helping agriculture and industrial activities through quick and easy access to the markets, he concluded.