Pakistan, China Set to Further Upgrade Karakoram Highway

Pakistan and China are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the upgradation and new alignment of Thakot-Raikot section, a critical segment of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The MOU will be signed during the upcoming visit of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to China as the stage is set for a significant development in CPEC.

This was confirmed by senior officials of the National Highways Authority (NHA) while talking to ProPakistani. Around the 240 km long route is expected to be upgraded at a cost of billions of rupees, they added. The visit promises to be a harbinger of a new era for CPEC projects, particularly in the acceleration of the Thakot-Raikot section.

The Thakot-Raikot section, a critical segment of the Karakoram Highway, is set for a substantial transformation. This route, bridging Thakot and Raikot, plays a pivotal role in the broader KKH and even CPEC infrastructure network, which acts as a vital link between Pakistan and the expanding realm of Chinese trade and commerce.

The Karakoram Highway was constructed over a span of 16 years, from 1962 to 1978, it spans 1,300 kilometers, with 806 kilometers in Pakistan.

In 2005, Pakistan and China embarked on an endeavor to upgrade this iconic highway. Phase I of the Karakoram Highway upgradation, from Raikot to Khunjerab, encompassing 335 kilometers, reached completion in November 2013.

The launch of the CPEC in 2013 ushered in a new vision for the Karakoram Highway. This rejuvenated KKH brought with it a series of substantial improvements, including tunnels, high-level bridges, stable slopes, and bypasses around congested towns. These changes aligned it with international road standards, offering travelers a safe and remarkable journey through the heart of the mountains, extending from Mansehra to Thakot.

CPEC’s second phase saw the transformation of the E-35 section from Havelian to Thakot, stretching across approximately 120 kilometers. This redevelopment introduced a motorway section that links Havelian to Mansehra, streamlining travel and serving as an emblem of both nations’ commitment to efficient transportation infrastructure.

The consistent development of the KKH symbolizes the enduring bond between Pakistan and China, epitomizing their shared commitment to cooperation, development, and prosperity. This iconic road, a testament to the unwavering friendship between the two nations, opens up new horizons for travelers, cargo transporters, and economic development.

The Thakot-Raikot section is on the brink of a significant change. The existing road, known for its sharp bends and limitations, is poised for an overhaul. State-of-the-art tunnels, aimed at reducing travel time and enhancing safety, are on the horizon.

The road classification will advance from Class 4 to Class 2, signaling an upgrade in its quality and an increase in the permitted speed limit, promising swifter and more efficient travel.

This development holds the potential to revolutionize cargo transport, making it more efficient and cost-effective. The improved road network will support heavier cargo loads, streamlining the transportation of goods with greater ease and efficiency.

Source: Pro Pakistani