Pakistan to construct motorway to improve trade flows

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan government has decided to construct a motorway between Faisalabad and Khanewal to improve trade flows and lower transit costs and travel time by providing a high speed, safe and reliable access controlled motorway system.

By A Correspondent

Published: Thu 19 Apr 2007, 8:29 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:13 PM

Commencement of site works on the Faisalabad-Khanewal Motorway (M-4) by the National Highway Authority (NHA) is expected in early 2008 with an estimated completion date of late 2010.

The proposed project has been conceived to provide fast and safe access to traffic and facilitate transportation of goods between Central Asia and China to the ports of Karachi and Gwadar, and will provide easy access for residents of Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Khanewal, Multan districts to Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

The economic benefits resulting from implementation of the proposed project are decreased vehicle operating costs and travel time due to the improved road facility, reduced traffic congestion, uninterrupted and smooth traffic flow between Faisalabad and Khanewal, as well as increased commercial activity in the area. The proposed Project is designed for high speed travel over a smooth surface and will be able to carry a larger traffic volume with shorter travel times, says the project document prepared by NHA.

The project, as part of the National Trade Corridor Highway Investment Programme, will fall under the administrative jurisdiction of Faisalabad, Toba Tek Sing, Jhang, and Khanewal districts. The road alignment will start at the end point of M-3 near Faisalabad and extend for 184 kilometres to N-5 near Khanewal. M-4 will include construction of a two-lane dual carriageway and construction of nine interchanges at road crossings. Two bridges will also be constructed, one at Sadhnai Spill channel and the other across Ravi River.

The proposed carriageways will include inner and outer paved shoulders. Based on the traffic projection survey, approximately 14,561 vehicles per year will use the Faisalabad-Khanewal motorway at its commissioning in 2010. By 2020, this will increase to about 27,067 vehicles. The traffic volume was estimated using both diverted and generated traffic, according to the document.

The annual operations and maintenance costs and overlaying costs have been calculated to be Rs. 58.874 million and Rs. 2,980.014 million, respectively; expressed in economic terms; these equal Rs. 52.987 million and Rs. 2,682.013 million.

The proposed project will be constructed on a new alignment for which about 1,940 hectares of land will be acquired; about 200 mud or brick structures will need to be demolished. There will also be losses due to removal of other infrastructure such as farmhouses, tubewells, and poultry farms.

The document says the proposed alignment will not pass through any flood-prone areas, and changes in the hydrological regime are unlikely. Proper design of bridges across Ravi River and Sadhnai canal will ensure that there will be no change in flow pattern. Provision of appropriately sized culverts and drains will prevent floods.

About 3 to 5 per cent of the land in the vicinity of the proposed project corridor is waterlogged and has salinity problems, but such areas are located more than one kilometre from the proposed motorway, and are unlikely to be affected. However, to ensure that the project will not aggravate the situation, drainage culverts will be provided at suitable locations.

It is estimated that a total of 18,000 trees, found in agricultural fields throughout the project area, will be chopped. For every tree disappeared, four trees will be planted to compensate for the loss in vegetation. Plantation would be undertaken on a 25 metres strip of land on both sides of the road.

To establish a socio-economic baseline for the project, a survey of 100 males and 100 females from various areas in the vicinity of the alignment was conducted from January to February 2007. Of the 200 respondents, 142 were literate; of these 30 per cent had primary level education, 28 per cent had education up to secondary level, 24 per cent reached the intermediate level, and 18 per cent had either graduate or postgraduate education.

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