ISLAMABAD: A Chinese railway company said on Wednesday it has secured a $1.46 billion contract jointly with a Pakistani company to build the Karachi-Lahore motorway.
China Railway Construction Corporation said its unit, China Railway 20th Bureau Group Co, and Zahir Khan and Brothers Engineers and Constructors have won the bid to build a 1,152km section of the motorway project between the port city and Lahore, according to The Economic Times.
In March this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Karachi-Lahore Motorway project. It was announced that in the first phase, the motorway will be constructed from Karachi to Hyderabad and will stretch to Lahore as part of the M-9 project. The motorway project is expected to cost Rs36 billion and will be completed in 30 months.
Last month, inaugurating the second section of Faisalabad-Multan M4 motorway project, PM Nawaz said motorways are valuable assets of Pakistan and they should be carefully maintained. “Six-lane Karachi-Lahore motorway is a mega project in the history of Pakistanwhich will dramatically reduce travelling cost,” he added.
Pakistan calls China an “all-weather friend” and shares close business, diplomatic and security ties with its neighbour. Both countries signed an agreement on April 20 this year to commence work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) development projects worth over $46 billion, which comes to roughly 20 per cent of Pakistan’s annual GDP.
The corridor aims to connect Gwadar port in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang region via a network of highways, railways and pipelines spread over 3,000km. Work on several sections has already started but the entire project is expected to take several years to complete.