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A Compressive Guide about CPEC Roadway Projects

CPEC emphasizes the development of transportation and road and is investing a great amount of time and money on it. China has recently announced providing more than $10 billion for the development of the construction of the transport infrastructure. Early Harvest which is an ongoing road project, more than $6 billion has already been spent on it. Basically, three main corridors are designed for the transportation of goods especially cargo. The first corridor is the eastern alignment which will pass through the densely populated areas from Sindh and Punjab. The second corridor will be the western alignment which will pass through Baluchistan and Khybar Pakhtunkhwa which are less populated zones. And the last one is future alignment which links Punjab, Baluchistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Karakoram Highway

Under the CPEC, the National Highway 35 (N 35) will be constructed which is the Pakistani side of Karakoram highway. This highway expands more than 850 km between the Pakistan and China borders. It continues till Burhan town and intersects the M1 motorway and from there M1 and M2 motorways continue to Islamabad and Lahore. Burhan town is the point which also links eastern and western alignments. Burhan and Raikot are considered part of Karakoram Highway phase 2 of Pakistan. Now let’s discuss the three alignments.

Eastern Alignment

The term eastern alignments basically tell us about the road way projects passing through the big and populated areas Punjab and Sindh. They were first planned in 1991. Through the eastern alignment big provinces Punjab and Sindh are connected by a long motorway of more than 1000 km long. It will control six long highway that connects two big cities Lahore and Karachi. It will cost $6.6 billion which will be distributed by china owned banks.

The eastern alignment consists of 4 parts, Road between Karachi and Hyderabad costing $1.7 billion, a road between Hyderabad and Sukkur and costs $2.89 billion, a long road joining Sukkur with Multan costs, and the last one join Multan with Lahore and this road will cost $1.5 billion.

Western Alignment

This roadway project is spread between the provinces of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also including western Punjab under the supervision of CPEC. This alignment is planned to divide hundreds of km road In2 and 4 lane highways also planning to upgrade them to six lanes in the future. In total, the CPEC project envisages the reconstruction of 870 kilometers of road in Baluchistan province alone as part of the Western Alignment. The start point of the western alignment is Brahma bahtar interchange on motorway M1. It is near to the town of Burhan. The Karakoram which the newly built roadway connects the western alignment at Burna town interchange. And a new motorway will be constructed near it, a 280km long road is named Brahma Bahtar-Yarik Motorway, The motorway will spread across the Sindh region and then reaches to Mian wali. It contains total of 11 interchanges and the whole of this project will cost approximately $1.05 billion. The Western Alignment of CPEC is depicted by the red line. The 1,153-kilometer the route will join the Brahma Bahtar Interchange of the M1 Motorway with the city of Gwadar. The portion depicted by the orange line between Basima and shahdadkot is sometimes considered as part of the Western Alignment.

At the southern region, CPEC upgraded the motorway of Dera Ismail Khan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The reconstruction mainly took place between Zheda and Quetta. The central Baluchistan connected to Zohrab by a 480km long motorway. This construction took place in 2016. Hoashab and Gwader are also connected along the western alignment by a new built motorway road which is of 193km long portion.

Central Alignment

Central alignment consists of plans for the road that will commence in Gwadar and will be spread to different cities like Basima, Khuzdar, Sukkur, Layyah, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh etc. It will end at Dera Ismail Khan connecting it to ongoing Karakoram road.

Associated Roadway Projects

ABD Fund Project

The long motorway that connects Faisalabad and Multan and is 184km long does not fall under CPEC scope. However, the location is considered important by the CPEC for the transportation of goods. So it is funded by both the CPEC cooperative banks and provided funds. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom also provides funding of almost $90 million. The Karakoram Highway south of the city of Mansehra will also be upgraded into a controlled-access highway to officially be known as the E-35 express highway. While it is considered to be a vital part of the road between Gwadar and China, the E35 will not be financed by CPEC funds. The project will rather be funded by the Asian Development Bank with a 121.6 million us dollars provided by the United Kingdom towards the project. When completed, the E35 Expressway, the M4 Motorway, and Karachi-Lahore Motorway will provide constant high-speed road spread on controlled motorways from Mansehra to Karachi which is 1,550 kilometers away.

Railway Projects

The main railway road that falls under CPEC are mainline 1, mainline 2, and mainline 3, Lahore metro, and Khunjerab railway.Mainline 1 is supposed to be 1867km long under the plan by CPEC which is usually named as ‘Early Harvest’. The first phase of this line was completed in 2017.  The first part of the event first phase of the project will aim at developing the Multan to Peshawar zone, which will then be followed by the Hyderabad to Multan zone, and finally by the Hyderabad to Karachi section. Similarly, Mainline 2 is 1254 km long, Mainline 3 is 560km long. The orange line is 27.1km long and the metro is 25.4km long and finally, the Khunjerab railway is 682 kilometers long. The cost of the entire project is going to be approximately $12 billion and will need at least 5 years for completion. A 300 million rupee study to establish the final feasibility of constructing the rail line between Havelian and the Chinese border is already underway.

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