Lowari tunnel to be operational by June: NHA official

ISLAMABAD: The Lowari Tunnel project will become operational by June, an official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) said on Wednesday.

About unusual delay in the completion of the project, he said, work on Lowari Tunnel project, which started in September 2005, was supposed to be completed by 2008 and as per the PC-1 it was to cost Rs9 billion.

However, its completion time was extended when the then government decided to convert it into a road tunnel in 2009, rather than the rail tunnel as per the original plan. The history shows that the Lowari Tunnel project idea was discussed in the National Assembly of Pakistan by the member from Chitral, Jaafar Ali Shah in 1970s, the official said.

He said work on the tunnel began for the first time in 1975, but it was stopped in 1977 after change of the government on the pretext of the lack of funds and other development priorities.

The work did not resume until September 2005, he said, adding that after its conversion, work on the road tunnel continued slowly due to multiple reasons, including the lack of funds, issues over funds releases between NHA and Korean construction firm SAMBU and prolonged winter season. The present government approved additional funds for the Lowari Tunnel to ensure its completion as early as possible, he added.

After becoming fully operational, the tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar to only seven hours, the official said. Moreover, people of Chitral have to travel through Afghanistan and then enter back into Pakistan during the winter season when Lowari Top is closed for traffic. Chitral remains virtually inaccessible during winters and the tunnel will facilitate all-weather transportation, he added.

Published in ‘The News’  04 May 2017

7 COMMENTS

  1. The pace of work inside the tunnel belies the statement of the NHA official. No where in the world will only a dozen persons be working inside an eight kilometer tunnel most of which remains rough and barren, and then claim it will be completed in one month – it can only happen in Pakistan.

  2. The best news published in The News 04 May 2017, ever seen and heard in the lives of our late forefathers in Chitral. The souls of our leaders specially late Ataliq Jafar Ali Shah MNA, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed and many others like Pervaiz Musharaf shall have been very happy hearing this greatest news from NHA. NHA has given June the month of operation of Lowari Tunnel and we hope this means June 2017. We should accept it and hope to be the exact month as June 2017. Well done NHA. Congratulation to NHA, SAMBU and whole Chitral and the people of Chitral.
    This is not true and fact that travelling time from Chitral to Peshawar shall be reduced from 14 hours to 7 hours. NHA must correct it.

  3. The time to travel from Chitral to Peshawar will be reduced by 2 hours. But most importantly Chitral will not remain disconnected from the rest of Pakistan in winters. Thankyou all the political leaders who played a role in its completion and no thanks to all those political and influential prople who discouraged its contruction due to their pre historic views.

  4. Thank you editor and special thanks to Liaqat Ali sb for mentioning the pioneers of this innovative project which will definitely change the fortune of Chitralis when completed.
    Many duaeen for the late PM ZA Bhutto and late JA Shah’s souls and for the success and long life of P Musharaf the then president of Pakistan….

  5. The reliability of the NHA official’s statement can be gauged when he says the travel time will reduce from 14 hours to 7 hours. With this kind of ridiculous exaggeration how can one trust their claims of opening the tunnel in June. The deadline for tunnel opening has thrice been postponed after the PM himself announced it’s opening date first in Dec 2016 (“at all cost” he emphatically said), then it became March 2018 and now June 2018. Let’s see if this time the deadline is met. Those lucky to travel through the tunnel testify that work is not in accordance with promised deadline.

  6. Depiction of real picture is necessary to see things in their true perspective.The breaking news of being operational of Lowari Tunnel in June, 2017 and even June 2018 does not appear to be reliable. Because according to the travelers recently happened to pass the Lowari Tunnel, the major work including installation of Exhaust system and drainage system remain incomplete. The work is very slow with a dozen of workers. It is reiterated that only the finishing work requires at least 6 months provided the work is carried out with full capacity of working hours and strength of labour. Therefore, the Chairman National Highway and SAMBO authorities responsible for completion of work are requested to accelerate the pace of work with full strength to ensure completion of Lowari Tunnel by June 2018 according to the commitment of Prime MinisterMian Nawaz Sharif.

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