The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is going to grant a $235 million loan for Pakistan to upgrade the Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of National Highway network.
On Thursday, ADB approved a $235 million loan for the country in order to upgrade the National Highway, which is crucial to regional connectivity. According to the bank’s statement, “the loan is imperative to strengthen the government’s operation and maintenance of its National Highway network.”
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ADB press statement says, under this project, the 222 kilometer Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of National Highway (N55) will be expanded from two-lane into a four-lane carriageway. The N55 is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor-5, which links the ports of Karachi and Gwadar in southern Pakistan with national and international economic centers to the north.
The project also includes construction of bus stops, emergency response centers, and traffic police facilities to ensure road safety enforcement and efficient post-crash response.
“This project will increase the capacity of a busy highway section that passes through populous economic centres in Sindh and Punjab provinces,” ADB Transport Specialist Rika Idei said.
“The project addresses key road safety, climate resilience, and gender-specific needs to ensure users can travel safely, smoothly, and comfortably. This will facilitate the regional movement of goods and people, and support Pakistan’s economic recovery from COVID-19.”
Moreover, bus stops and emergency response centres will have gender-separated facilities and rest spaces for various users, including the elderly, women, children, and persons with disabilities, it said.
“The project will also help strengthen the capacity of the National Highway Authority by supporting a five-year training program which was prepared with assistance from the United States Agency for International Development,” it said.
The ADB has also said that the training programme will cover road project operation, maintenance, design, and gender concerns and will be executed from 2021 to 2025.