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Widening of Torkham highway Heavy traffic blamed for slow pace of work

By Our Correspondent 2013-11-12
LANDI KOTAL, Nov 11: The load of traffic was major reason of slow pace of work on Peshawar-Torkham Highway widening project, according to Frontier Works Organisation.

FWO liaison officer Maj (retired) Haseenullah told Dawn that they were trying their level best to complete the project before December 2014. A committed team of 800 workers were working over eight hours a day to complete the $67 million project by mid 2014, he added.

The expansion and widening of the 45-kilometre road was started in November last year after the government of United States agreed to provide funds for the project from its defence budget under its withdrawal programme from Afghanistan. It was announced that the project would be completed by the end of 2014.

`Heavy traffic is an impediment in the construction or repair of a road,` Mr Haseenullah said. He added that security officials werealso reluctant to allow them to work at nighttime owing to security concerns.

`FWO is aware of the hardships faced by the transporters and commuters because the traffic has been diverted to unpaved and bumpy lanes in dry streams along the road,` he added.

Mr Haseenullah said that they had to repeatedly revise the drawing and design of the road owing to heavy traffic on it.

`Most of the transporters violate the load limit which at international level is fixed as 60 tonnes,` he said and added that most vehicles carried over 100 tonnes of multiple goods that caused damage to the road.

He said that WFO collected data regularly about the types of goods transported on the road alongside traffic load from a private vehicle weighing station in Jamrud as no previous data of the road was available with National High Authority.

Mr Haseenullah said that WFO arranged for drainage of rain water for the entire road that provided longevityto its life. He said that for better management of the project, his organisation divided the entire road into five sections and workers were busy on all the five sections to complete the task timely.

`We have completed vthe first 9-kilometre section from Karkhano Market checkpost to Sur Kamar in Jamrud. We are hopeful that a major portion would be asphalted by March next year, he added.

The WFO official hoped that the road would last for five decades if National Highways Authority, which was responsible for its maintenance, could properly and strictly implement the load by-laws.

He said that FWO would rebuild the portions of the buildings, which would be demolished during expansion of the road, but it would not compromise on the 42feet width of the road.

Mr Haseenullah, however, made it clear that there was no allocation of funds to compensate the encroachers.