Govt to upgrade KKH for Diamer-Bhasha dam
17 November 2007
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The government is considering upgrading Karakorum Highway (KKH) from Manshera to the site of proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam to facilitate transportation of heavy machinery to the dam site official sources said here Saturday. The proposed project would cost Rs 11.578 billion and the road stretched to 258.048 kilometers needs to be widened, officials told Daily Times. The trailers, carrying heavy and wide equipments for the dam would almost cover the entire width of the road and may not allow any overtaking or crossing of traffic from opposite direction, so there is a need to upgrade it, officials said. Widths of the existing road vary from 6.1 meter to 6.5 meters. It is proposed to be strengthening with provision of additional layers of sub-base and widened from existing 6.1 meters to 7.3 meters with shoulders from 1 to 2 meters, the officials maintained. The existing road beyond the dam (140 km) will submerged in the dam, therefore, will have to be relocated and constructed at higher altitude. The benefits accruing from the project would be saving in travel time, increased tourism-smooth trade with China and reduction in maintenance costs and accidents and un-interrupted transportation of heavy equipment and material for the dam. The officials said that the only possibility of moving voluminous machinery for the dam is through KKH, which was completed in 1978. Its total length is about 810 km from Hassanabdal on GT road to Khunjirab Pass on border with China in most of its reaches does not meet the required standards for a two-lane highway. Limited pavement width, negative slopes (overhangs) sharp curves, stressed pavement conditions, frequent landslides and inadequate drainage were the major constraint that require to be addressed before the construction of the proposed Basha dam. Therefore, PC-I, considers upgradation of 258.048 km of KKH from Mansehra to the dam site to meet the future requirements of the increased traffic and transportation of the heavy machinery for the dam. In addition to that it would provide an improved and efficient link with Northern areas and onwards to China, the officials added. The officials claimed that the project up-gradation of KKH from Mansehra to the proposed Basha Dam site was a prerequisite for the construction of the dam. It would facilitate uninterrupted transportation of plant, equipment, machinery and material for the construction of the dam.