The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan have signed a $75m loan agreement to widen and upgrade 42km of the Mardan-Swabi road in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan.
The financing for the new section expands the scope of a $140m loan for the ongoing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Road Improvement Project.
The agreements were signed by ADB country director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Division secretary Noor Ahmed.
The original project is intended to improve eight sections of key provincial roads to increase transport efficiency and safety.
The additional $75m financing will upgrade the two-lane road between Mardan and Swabi to a four-lane divided road to accommodate increasing traffic and improve environmental resilience.
Under the project, tolling and amenities, including bus shelters and pedestrian facilities, will also be constructed.
It will also promote road safety measures as part of the capacity-building efforts for the Communications and Works Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Mardan-Swabi road spans the agricultural and industrial heartland of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province along the Indus and Kabul rivers.
The region features Gandhara and Buddhist archaeological and cultural heritage, including the world heritage site of Takht Bahi.
The upgraded road is expected to ease traffic congestion and make travel faster and safer.
Average daily traffic, excluding the non-motorised traffic, on the road connecting the two cities is about 7,000 vehicles.
Yang said: “The new dual carriageway will bring many benefits to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The road will connect a thriving agricultural region with a busy industrial hub, and link the region to important tourist destinations such as Swat and Kalam through the Swat Expressway.
“The road will also improve rural people’s access to social services in Mardan, the province’s second largest city.”
Image: Pakistan’s Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed (second from left, sitting) and ADB country director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang (second from right, sitting) speaking to the media. Photo: Courtesy of Asian Development Bank.