- Will expand the Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of N55 from two lanes to four-lane carriageway
In a bid to improve Pakistan's highway infrastructure, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $235-million loan to further upgrade a national highway in the country and strengthen the government’s operation and maintenance framework of its national highway.
The project will expand the 222-kilometer Shikarpur–Rajanpur section of the National Highway 55 (N55) from two lanes into a four-lane carriageway. The N55 is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor 5, which links the ports of Karachi and Gwardar in southern Pakistan with national and international economic centres to the north.
The highway infrastructure is a part of efforts to improve regional connectivity. Pakistan is a member of the 11-countries CAREC Program, which aims to promote economic growth and sustainable development through regional cooperation.
ADB said that the $235-million loan is the second tranche of a multi-tranche financing facility designed to provide technical and financial assistance to upgrade N55 and enhance the capacity of the National Highway Authority (NHA). The first tranche of $180 million was approved in September 2017 and financed the improvement of three sections totalling 143 kilometres in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“This project will increase the capacity of a busy highway section that passes through populous economic centers in Sindh and Punjab provinces,” said ADB Transport Specialist Rika Idei.
“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.”
As per details, under the project, bus stops, emergency response centres, and traffic police facilities will be built. 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.