The Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbassi today inaugurated the Hasan Abdal-Havelian Expressway (E-35), which was constructed with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
The E-35, also known as the Hazara Expressway, is part of the ADB/DFID’s Pakistan Economic Corridors Program to promote regional trade and economic growth in the country. The two institutions cofinanced the construction of the expressway for a total amount of $327 million. ADB provided a $205 million loan as part of its flagship National Trade Corridor Highway Investment Program, while DFID provided a $121.6 million grant for the project.
“The expressway will bring cost-effective transportation to millions of people in busy towns and deep valleys along the route,” said Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director for Pakistan. “It is an important step towards positioning Pakistan as a trading hub between Western and Central Asia by transforming adjoining towns and industrial zones into economic corridors.”
The new expressway is considered as the missing link in Pakistan’s transit route. It will link the northern mountainous region with existing north-south motorways to boost the connectivity within Pakistan and increase trade and commerce with the People’s Republic of China and other Central Asian countries.
“The expressway will connect Pakistan to its neighbors and important cities like Abbottabad, Haripur, and Northern region with the motorway network,” said Joanna Reid, Head of DFID Pakistan. “UKAid is pleased to have helped the Government of Pakistan provide better, safer, and faster transport connectivity so women, men, and children can access opportunities, markets, and basic services and develop their local economies.”
E-35, which is 59 kilometers (km) long with the inaugurated portion covering 45.5 km of the total, connects the existing M1 at Burhan to Havelian. The new road runs almost parallel with the existing N35 highway, which has encountered roadblocks and safety hazards due to high traffic volume and poor road conditions. The expressway will substantially reduce the travel time and cost from Islamabad to Havelian and beyond.
Other projects covered by the ADB/DFID partnership include the M4 – Motorway from Gojra to Khanewal; N50 – National Highway from Zhob to Mughal Kot; and N70 – National Highway of Qila Saifullah-Loralai-Wagham. The partnership also provides technical assistance for the development of a national transport policy, road safety, road asset management, and economic corridor planning to ensure that future infrastructure investments bring maximum economic impact. The two institutions also support the development of public-private partnerships to help Pakistan meet its infrastructure gap through sustainable private financing.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.