ISLAMABAD  - With the completion of under- construction motorways and highways in next few years, road infrastructure in the country would be transformed and Pakistan would become hub of regional trade.

  In an interview to APP, National Highway Authority (NHA) General Manager Design Asim Amin said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had given the task of early completion of these projects to NHA, which also included alignments of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

  “These roads will open new vistas of opportunities for people of the adjacent areas,” he added.

  Asim said that completion of the ongoing NHA projects, most of which are underway in comparatively less developed areas of the country, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan, would help end the sense of deprivation among people of these areas.

  “The projects will prove to be a catalyst in changing destiny of people of Pakistan in general and those living in less developed areas in particular.

  He informed that presently either these projects were being executed or in the planning stage.  “Allah (The Almighty) has bestowed Pakistan with such geography that about 40 percent of world population lives in its vicinity and it can act as a gateway between the most populous countries of the world, India and China,” he elaborated.

  The NHA GM said that main objectives of the NHA are to develop high speed north-south economic corridor, provide linkages with the Gwadar port and enhance regional connectivity.

Asim said that presently the NHA’s portfolio has crossed Rs 1000 billion which used to be 50 to 60 billion a few years back.

To a question, he said that CPEC was the name of building roads from Khunjerab to Gwadar. “A number of sections of this mega project have been completed and the remaining are under construction,” he informed.

He said 335 km Khunjerb-Raikot section of the Karakoram Highway (N-35) has already been upgraded while for the upgradation of Raikot-Thakot section of the highway, damaged during 2010 floods, China had given $ 70 million grant and its 136 km portion had been rehabilitated while for the remaining 140 km section talks for another grant worth $ 80 million were in progress.

The NHA GM said that construction work of Havelian-Thakot Motorway section was in full swing and it was expected to be completed in three years

The stretch of motorway from Havelian passes through Abbottabad, Mansehra and Shinkiari, ending at Thakot.

Asim further said that work on 59 km Burhan-Havelian of Hazara Motorway was going on smoothly and would be completed next year.

About Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Expressway, he said that construction of a 285km new road between Halka, an area near Islamabad, and Dera Ismail Khan had been divided into five parts to ensure that the work was completed in two years.

He said Halka-Dera Ismail Khan road was the biggest missing link in the proposed western route, and it would be completed by August 2018.

“One of the major projects of CPEC is the widening of 533km

  long two-lane Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta Highway,” he said, and added, “Under the project, the road will be turned into a four-lane carriageway. Its feasibility study has been carried out by the National Engineering Services of Pakistan.”

  He said that groundbreaking of the upgradation of Zhob-Mughalkot section had been performed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2015.

  The NHA GM said that up-gradation of Zhob-Quetta highway had also been realised while Sorab-Hoshab section had recently been inaugurated.

  He further said that 193 km Hoshab-Turbat-Gwadar portion had been completed.

  Asim said rehabilitation of DI Khan-Mughalkot section of N-50 would be completed by 2018. 

  Moreover, he said that dualisation of 531 km DI Khan to Kuchlak section of N-50 would be operational by 2020.

  About dualisation of 211 km Quetta-Kalat-Surab section, he

said it was planned to be completed by 2020.

Asim said the NHA would also strengthen the east-west connectivity through Balochistan and extend across all provinces including  Gilgit Baltistan.

He told APP that the western corridor was divided into six sections including Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan (288km), Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob (205km), Zhob-Quetta (331 km), Quetta-Sohrab 211km, Sohrab-Hoshab 449 km and Hoshab-Gwadar 193km.

He said that western route passed through less developed areas of KP and Balochistan. “With development on this route, people living in these areas would get jobs,” he added.

He said that during past three years the NHA had completed 58km Multan-Khanewal Motorway which cost Rs14 billion, 150 km Qila Saifullah-Zhob Highway which cost Rs8.3 billion, 68 km

Sukkur-Jacababad which cost Rs8.5 billion.

Moreover he said that the NHA also completed Rs10.3 billion Faisalabad-Gojra section of Motorway which had the total length of 58 km, 384 km Raikot-Khunjerab which cost Rs490 million, 64 km Waighum Rud Khjuri road at the cost of Rs13 billion, 7.6 km Peshawar Northern Bypass (package I) which cost Rs22 billion.