With Improved Security, World Bank Decides To Invest $460M In Peshawar-Torkham Expressway

The new four-lane expressway from Peshawar to Torkham border will be built as the existing two-lane road cannot be modernized due to various constraints

May 19, 2018 (BE2C2) — The World Bank has decided to invest $460 million to build a new 4-lane highway from Peshawar to Afghanistan border aimed at bolstering trade between the two countries and creating job opportunities in war-torn federally administered tribal areas (FATA).

The decision comes as there is marked improvement in the security situation, the World Bank documents said.

The board of directors of the bank is likely to approve the $460-million loan next month for Peshawar-Torkham Expressway Corridor project, according to the documents. The total cost of the project is nearly $483 million and the remaining amount will be arranged by Pakistan from its own resources.

The World Bank study for the project underlines that improvements in security, infrastructure investments, and renewed regional economic cooperation have given new hope for the revival of cross-border trade and bolstering of economic growth.

It however noted that lack of productive cross-border trade has severely affected the economy of north-western Pakistan.

It adds that the security situation in north-western Pakistan has improved dramatically over the past few years. In 2015, the reported number of insurgent attacks fell by almost fifty percent; and in 2016, a further drop of 28% in terrorist attacks was reported. The energy shortfall is gradually being addressed by the establishment of micro-hydro power plants in the area, while investments in transportation infrastructure are addressing bottlenecks to connectivity between Peshawar and the rest of Pakistan.

The report said that the rates of economic growth, unemployment, and poverty in north-western Pakistan have fallen well behind the rest of Pakistan, forming a cycle of insecurity and conflict.

The World Bank’s investment in Peshawar corridor project will help improve the infrastructure in addition to creating new job opportunities in KP and the FATA.

The 50-kilometer long Peshawar-Torkham project is part of the 281-kilometer long Peshawar-Kabul expressway. This Peshawar-Kabul expressway has been termed as the Gateway to Central Asia. The Peshawar-Torkham motorway will start from the Peshawar ring road near Hayatabad town, which is about 12 kilometers away from Peshawar city and ends at Torkham.

The World Bank funding for the new four-lane expressway from Peshawar to Torkham border has been announced as the existing two-lane road cannot be modernized due to various constraints.

Ongoing reconstruction/rehabilitation of existing 2-lane Peshawar-Torkham Highway

The existing 2-lane Peshawar – Torkham Road passes through Khyber Pass and is the most important link between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has been a major route for supplying military armaments and food to the NATO forces in Afghanistan since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In addition to NATO Supplies, the road also serves as trade route under Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. Due to extraordinarily increase in Pak-Afghan trade and large NATO supplies, a huge volume of traffic plies on this narrow road. Owing to immense increase in traffic volume during the past few years, the condition of the road deteriorated and required major reconstruction/rehabilitation.

Construction work on this strategic project commenced in Nov 2012 by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) at an estimated cost of approx US$87 million — funded by the USAID.

Completion of the project will benefit the local populace of Khyber Agency as well as enhance the existing trade volume with the neighboring country (Afghanistan).

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