To enhance road communication with the southern areas of the province, the provincial government on Monday gave its in-principle approval to build a 339 kilometres-long motorway from Peshawar to Dera Ismail Khan at a potential cost of Rs250 billion.
This was decided during a meeting held at Chief Minister Secretariat in Peshawar on Monday. The meeting had been chaired by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and was attended by State Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Sheheryar Afridi, K-P Communications and Works Minister Akbar Ayub Khan, K-P Health Minister Dr Hisham Inaamullah Khan, Adviser to K-P Chief Minister on Merged Districts Ajmal Wazir, members of the provincial assembly from the southern districts of , Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah, C&W secretary, K-PHighway Authority (K-PHA) and other concerned authorities.
During the meeting, they were briefed about the proposed highway and the different proposed routes which can be built, design parameters, objectives, interchanges, tunnels, coverage of various districts and suburbs and other important aspects of the project.
Moreover, five proposed routes were presented before the participants of the meeting for detailed deliberations.
A consensus was reached on constructing the 339km option-II which starts from Chamkani in Peshawar and goes to Dera Ismail Khan via Darra Adamkhel, Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Bannu and Lakki Marwat.
This highway will compose of 15 interchanges which will serve erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) of Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan.
It will also feature three tunnels which will have to be dug through the mountains.
Mahmood remarked that the motorway will be a major project by the present government for the southern districts of the province. He hinted that the motorway could even potentially become part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stating that it can pave the way for the development of the southern region and provide rapid travel to the people.
“This project will prove to be a milestone in resolving the deprivation felt by residents of southern districts of the province,” he said.
Mahmood directed the concerned officials to finalise the interchanges planned along the route in consultation with the elected public representatives of the respective districts while accommodating their feedback to facilitate these districts.
The chief minister further pledged to start the project and complete it at a rapid pace. He added that ongoing road projects in other southern districts, including the Bannu Circular Road, will also be connected to the new motorway through various interchanges, thereby helping the deprived areas to develop.
“High-speed travel will be available and it will also promote tourism and trade. This motorway will be no less than a milestone to change the destiny of the southern districts,” he added.