The National Highway Authority (NHA) has started the construction work of the 69-kilometre-long Kharian-Sambrial motorway, an extension of the Lahore-Sialkot motorway (M-11).
The development work of the Rs 42 billion (estimated cost) project has been initiated at the junction point near Kharian on the GT Road.
NHA official said that machinery has already been moved to Kharian and the contractor firm, and authorities have set up their respective on-site camps. An NHA team under the supervision of Deputy Director Ahmad Bilal has launched the work at the site.
The official further said that possession of the acquired project land has been taken by the authority and the whole route has been cleared of bushes, trees, and structures, while earth filling work will be done in the second phase.
He added that the original Kharian-Sambrial motorway design depicts six lanes, but now the existing project is limited to only four lanes -two lanes on each side. The length of the main motorway is 60 km, whereas a 9 km-long portion of the four-lane link road (also part of the motorway) will be constructed to connect M-11 with the GT Road near Bismillah Chowk, Kharian.
Moreover, the project comprises five interchanges and a service area in the Gujrat district. In addition, a one-kilometer-long bridge over the River Chenab connecting Gujrat and Sialkot will also be built, the official added.
The official expressed confidence that the project, being implemented on a built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis via public-private-partnership, will be accomplished in its stipulated time of two years.
The federal government has provided the land costing Rs13 billion for the project, he said, adding that the contractor firm, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) will bear the construction cost.
A total of 4,600 acres of land coming in some 64 villages of three tehsils, comprising 28 villages of Gujrat, 22 of Kharian, and 14 of Sambrial (Sialkot district), has already been attained by the NHA through the local administrations.
The official further informed the media that the M-11 will be extended to Islamabad after the completion of the Kharian-Sambrial section, to be the shortest route between Lahore and Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the business community of Sialkot and Gujrat has been anxiously waiting for the execution of the Kharian-Sambrial motorway project, expecting it will help facilitate their businesses.