ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 21st july,2016) : National Highway Authority (NHA) has been striving for early completion of Lowari tunnel, said an official source on Thursday. Taking to APP,the NHA official said official date for completion was 2016 year end but keeping in mind problems being faced by the people of Chitral the NHA wants to make it operational as early as possible. About unusual delay in the completion of the project he said that work on Lowari tunnel project started in Sept 2005 and it was to be completed by 2008 but was delayed firstly due to harsh weather and then due to change from rail to road tunnel.
As far its PC-1 it was supposed to cost Rs 9 billion, but after its conversion to road tunnel the total allocation as per revised PC-1 of the Lowari road tunnel was Rs 18.13 billion. He said for the first time the plan to build a tunnel to provide all weather road link to Chitral was conceived in early 1970s and work on the tunnel began on Sept 8, 1975 but it was stopped in 1977 after change of the government on the pretext of lack of funds and other development priorities.
The work did not resume until Sept 2005. After becoming fully operational,the tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by 50 percent. 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 winter and the tunnel will facilitate all-weather transportation.
In 2015, the government approved additional funds for a revised PC-I of the Lowari Tunnel, and indicated that it should be completed by October 2017. He said the project would bring a revolution in the life of the people of Chitral. The tunnel would also facilitate the transportation of local products to markets across Pakistan and abroad, thereby improving the economic conditions of the people and the area, he said. He said the government is also constructing Chitral-Gilgit road, which will promote tourism in this part of the country.