ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will perform the ground break on dualization, rehabilitation and improvement of Rawalpindi-Kahuta road on Saturday (today).

The 28-kilometer-long dualization project has been divided into two packages. Under the first package, the 16.5-kilometer section will be built from Kaakpul Interchange to Trikiyan, while the second 12-kilometre section will be built from Trikiyan to Kahuta.

The project includes a 4-lane bridge over Sihala Railway crossing, Sihala bypass and Kahuta bypass in addition to three bridges, one underpass and 50 box culverts. The design speed will be 100-kilometre per hour in plain terrain and 80 km per hour in the hilly terrain. The total cost of the project (including land cost) has been estimated at around Rs12 billion according to NHA officials.

The existing road is presently two-lane that starts from GT Road (N-5) Interchange near Sowan and passes through Kahuta city further traversing to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

It carries immense strategic value and is the shortest route for the traffic coming from Rawalakot and Kotli to Islamabad and vice versa. The existing road is insufficient to accommodate the ever-growing volume of traffic resulting in severe congestions especially at the Sihala railway crossing, where traffic remains choked and jammed for hours.

Besides, the route carries heavy traffic due to oil cargo vehicles coming from GT Road. There is another impediment near Kahuta, where steep slope causes problems for heavy-loaded vehicles. The widening of the road is the utmost requirement to accommodate the smooth flow of traffic and facilitate the road users. The project will ease existing difficulties along with a substantial decrease in the transportation cost for heavy traffic.