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Motorway Link Citi Housing Kharian

Kharian-Sambrial Motorway Link Citi Housing Kharian

GUJRAT: The National Highway Authority (NHA) has launched the construction work of 69-kilometre-long Kharian-Sambrial motorway link Citi Housing Kharian, an expansion of Lahore-Sialkot motorway (M-11).

The ground work of the Rs42 billion (estimated cost) project has been started at the junction point near Citi Housing Kharian on the GT Road, where machinery has already been moved and contractor firm, as well as NHA, have set up their respective on-site camps. An NHA team led by Deputy Director Ahmad Bilal HAS launched the work at the site.

An official told Dawn that initially, possession of the acquired project land has been taken by the authority and the entire route is being cleared of bushes, trees and structures, whereas earth filling work will be done in the second phase.

He says the original motorway design shows six lanes, but the current project is limited to only four lanes — two lanes on its each side. The main Kharian-Sambrial Motorway Link Citi Housing Kharian is 60km long, while a 9km-long portion of the four-lane link road (also part of the motorway) will be built to connect M-11 with the GT Road near Bismillah Chowk, Kharian, he adds.

Moreover, he says, the project includes five interchanges and a service area, all falling in Gujrat district. Besides, a one-kilometer long bridge over the River Chenab linking Sialkot and Gujrat will also be built, the official says, adding that the contractor firm will work simultaneously on the entire route of the project as different construction groups have been engaged for the purpose.

The official hopes the project, being executed on built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis through public-private-partnership, will be completed in its stipulated time of two years.

He says the federal government has provided the land, costing Rs13 billion, for the project, whereas the contractor firm — the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) will bear the cost of construction.

At least 4,600 acres of land falling in some 64 villages of three tehsils, including 28 villages of Gujrat, 22 of Kharian and 14 of Sambrial (Sialkot district), has already been acquired by the NHA through the local administrations.

The official says the M-11 will be expanded up to Islamabad after completion of Kharian-Sambrial section, to become the shortest route between Lahore and Islamabad. H

However, the Kharian-Islamabad motorway project, that has already been approved, is yet to be launched. The project, he says, after its completion, will help reduce the traffic volume on the Lahore-Islamabad GT Road. But due to being a shortest route between both the big cities of Pakistan, traffic volume on M11 can increase manifold and the route is being built as 4 lanes instead of 6 lanes.

The business fraternity of Sialkot and Gujrat have been awaiting execution of the Kharian-Sambrial motorway project, hoping it will help facilitate their businesses.

However, they want this motorway to be expanded to six lanes, as per the original design, apprehending that it may become crowded for the expected rush of traffic because of being the shortest route between Lahore and Islamabad.

In the initial plan, no direct access to M-11 had been provided from Gujrat city and MNA Moonis Elahi had raised the matter before the then prime minister Imran Khan at the project’s opening ceremony held at the PM House, Islamabad, last year.

Mr Khan had agreed to the idea of including the direct link to Gujrat city, the home town of the newly-elected Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

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