The Lowari Tunnel was originally conceived in 1956 by the Government of Pakistan but there is no historical record to this claim. Recorded history shows that the Lowari Tunnel project idea was discussed in the National Assembly of Pakistan by the MNA from Chitral Attalique Jaafar Ali Shah during 1972-75. Work on the tunnel began on 8 September 1975 inaugurated by PM Pakistan ZAB but was stopped in 1976 due to Military takeover of civilian government and on the pretext of lack of funds and other development priorities, work on the tunnel did not restart until September 2005.
The tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by 50%. Moreover, people of Chitral have to travel from Afghanistan and then enter back in Pakistan during the winter season as Lowari top is closed for traffic for most part of the year. Chitral remains virtually inaccessible during the winter; the tunnel will also facilitate all-weather transportation.
A South Korean construction company, SAMBU JV, has been assigned the work on the tunnel. It is expected to be completed at a cost of Rs.8 billion ($133 million US) in 2013.
Currently SAMBU JV has removed all construction equipment and has apparently abandoned the project.
Project Name: Lowari Tunnel
Length: 8.75 km
Diameter: 7.1 metres
Cost: PKR 5,545.7 Million (USD 133 Million)
Client: National Highway Authority (Pakistan)
Contractor: Sambu JV (South Korea)
Consultant: Geoconsult-Typsa JV
Date of Commencement: 5 September 2005
Estimated Date of Completion: March 2014
Physical Progress: 44% completed
- Lowari tunnel work in full swing
- Ice melts on the Lowari tunnel
- National Highways Authority: Development Projects
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