Overbudget Lowari Tunnel to Be Finally Inaugurated Today

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is all set to inaugurate the long-awaited Lowari Tunnel today, which has been completed with Rs 27 billion against the initial cost of Rs 7 billion.

In 2015, the government approved additional funds for a revised PC-I of the Lowari Tunnel, and indicated that it would be completed by October 2017.

Construction on the Lowari Tunnel began in September 1975, originally as a railway tunnel, but work was stopped in 1977 after the change of government. Work on the tunnel resumed on September 2005, with a scheduled completion date of three years. However, the completion time was extended after it was decided to convert the project from a railway tunnel to a road tunnel.

The tunnel is located on Nowshera-Mardan-Malakand-Chakdara-Chitral National Highway (N-45). Inauguration of the 8.5 km long tunnel will provide all-weather connection of Chitral with the rest of the country.

Scope of the project includes construction of two tunnels (8.5 km and 1.9 Km), access roads and 12 bridges (35 km)

The construction of Lowari Tunnel has been a long standing demand of the people there. The project will enhance economic growth through accelerated trade activity, generate employment opportunities for the locals, promote tourism and reduce travel time for passengers of commercial traffic.

The incumbent government had approved additional funds for Lowari Tunnel to ensure its completion as early as possible. Over Rs 13 billion including Rs 2 billion in 2013-14, Rs 3 billion in 2014-15, Rs 4 billion in 2015-16 and Rs 4 billion in 2016-17 have been released by the current government for the completion of the Lowari Tunnel.

The project will not only connect far flung and inaccessible areas of Chitral with the rest of the country but would help generate employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people besides promoting tourism, business and industrialization in these areas.

All kinds of vehicular traffic would pass in the tunnels (with 24 feet width and 16 feet height). It could be open 24 hours, even in harsh winter season with a speed limit of 40 kilometers.

National Highway Authority (NHA) spokesperson said that once its operational, the tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar to only seven hours. The spokesperson also confirmed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate the Lowari Tunnel on Thursday.

  • I did not see any air displacement equipment like large overhead fans that will circulate the air inside the tunnel. This will be soon filled with diesel smoke from the heavy trucks and reduce visibility and clean air.

    • The engineers are not stupid that they won’t make any ventilation system for several miles long tunnel. Even going few kilometers inside will start causing suffocation if ventilators are not installed.
      Despite inauguration, further work will be done while tunnel is still in use by traffic.

      • The engineers are definitely not stupid, but you are. The leader of the nation is not stupid either, but corrupt and to steal money from such projects anything and everything could be done (not out of stupidity, but due to corrupt criminal negligence – like in RWP Metro) by the PM of Pakistan and his amazing associates.

        • Ugh!
          Why don’t you join hands with imran kanjar and protest against the so called “corruption” in this project.

          • what language Talal, awesome. i felt for a second you are Talal Ch. phir socha k wo itna parha likha kahan ho ga bhala.
            about what you said “so Called corruption” do u honestly feel that there is no corruption in Pakistan, and there have been no corruption in Pakistan? do u really believe and feel that Nawaz is innocent? he has not done anything wrong?

            i must also tell u that i have heard nawaz in a jalsa in mid 90s and he literally crossed all borders while she was talking about Benazir, was she not a woman? where were his so called ethics then?

            if some one is calling for corruption what makes him wrong? just take action, take start. and after u take start just do not stop and take action against every one found involved in corruption, start from Nawaz no issue, end up at bottom (common man) and just do the clean up. only way corruption can be minimised is this, warna agar baray chor k liye aap jesay wakeel kharay hotay rahay tau phir us ghareeb ka kya kasoor jo apnay bhookay bachon k liye roti chori karta hy, uski side koe kyun nahe leta?

      • I have been working on similar projects. It will be insane to use this tunnel without installation of safety features. I think tunnel is inaugurated for political point scoring, a lot of efforts still required to make this tunnel operational. tunnel can not be opened for general public without proper ventilation and other safety requirements

        • I think this video is some months old and uploaded now because in news the tunnel they showed was pretty much decorated.

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