Pakistan Observer

Lowari Tunnel project to complete in 3 years: NHA

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - Islamabad—Work on Lowari Tunnel located on Nowshera-Dir-Chitral Road (N-45) has started again and the project worth of costing Rs 18 billion project would be completed in three years. An official in National Highway Authority (NHA) informed APP on Friday that the delay in the construction work was due to 2011 floods and disputes over payment between Korean construction company SAMBU and the NHA.

The source said that the disputes were resolved due to the efforts of the then Minister for Communications. He said that when the Lowari Tunnel project began in 2005 it was planned to be constructed in two phases. In the first phase, the 8.54 km long tunnel was to be constructed with access roads, while in the second phase a railway track was to be laid. The main tunnel has a 7.14 meter maximum height and 7.55 meter maximum width. There are two access roads on both sides of the tunnel, from Dir and Darosh that are 9.3 km and 9.2 km long, respectively.

The auxiliary tunnel is two km long. The project could not be completed in October 2008 as planned, in October 2009 the present government decided to change the project design from a rail tunnel instead of a road tunnel. Work on the project was discontinued again in June 2011, primarily due to financial constraints. There was an allocation of Rs 164 million under the 2010-11 PSDP but most of the funds had not been released.

As one of the longest tunnels in Asia, the Lowari Tunnel is of great national importance and would contribute to the socio-economic wellbeing of the area. After its completion, rich minerals and other natural resources could be exploited, this would result in promoting trade.—APP
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