Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the start of work on dualization, rehabilitation and improvement of Rawalpindi-Kahuta road on Saturday, a project estimated to cost Rs 12 billion.
The project for dualization of its 28 km long section is divided into two packages. Under the first package, 16.5 km section will be built from Kaakpul interchange to Trikiyan, while the second package of 12 km will be from Trikiyan to Kahuta.
The project includes a 4-lane bridge over Sihala Railway crossing, Sihala bypass and Kahuta bypass in addition to three bridges, one underpass, and 50 box culverts.
Lane width will be 3.65 m (each) with 0.6 m inner shoulder and 2.5 m outer shoulder. The design speed will be 100 km/hr in plain terrain and 80 km/hr in hilly terrain.
The existing road is presently two-lane that starts from G.T. road (N-5) interchange near Sowan and passes through Kahuta city further traversing to Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
It carries immense strategic value and is the shortest route for the traffic coming from Rawalakot, Kotli to Islamabad and vice versa.
The existing road is insufficient to accommodate the ever-growing volume of traffic resulting in severe congestions especially at the Sihala railway crossing, where traffic remains choked and jammed for hours and the local population is facing immense difficulty. Besides, the route carries heavy traffic due to oil cargo vehicles coming from G.T. road.
There is another impediment near Kahuta, where steep slope causes problems for heavily loaded vehicles. Widening of this road is the utmost requirement to accommodate the smooth flow of traffic and facilitate the road users of the area.
The project will ease existing difficulties along with a substantial decrease in transportation cost for heavy traffic. The agriculture products will reach the destinations in time and the troubled population of Sihala and other areas will get much-needed relief.