The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted a $75m loan to Pakistan to improve road conditions, capacity, and road safety on provincial roads in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province.

Under the agreement, the ADB’s funding will help widen and upgrade the 42km stretch of the busy Mardan-Swabi road in K-P.

Initially, the Manila-based bank sanctioned a $140m loan for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Road Improvement Project.

However, the Pakistani Government urged the bank for additional financing in May 2018. Subsequently, the ADB approved a $75m loan in December last year.

The additional loan will be used to upgrade the existing two-lane road between Mardan and Swabi to a four-lane divided road. This road upgrade will serve the increased traffic demand and improve environmental resilience.

“The new dual carriageway will bring many benefits to the K-P region.”

As part of the project, toll booths and gender-sensitive amenities will be built, including bus shelters and pedestrian facilities.

In addition, road safety measures will be implemented as part of capacity-building efforts of the K-P Communications and Works Department.

The upgraded road is not only expected ease traffic congestion but also make travel faster and safer for tourists, commuters and trucks in the region.

ADB Pakistan country director Xiaohong Yang said: “The new dual carriageway will bring many benefits to the K-P 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.”

Excluding the high volume of non-motorised traffic, average daily traffic on the road connecting the two cities is almost 7,000 vehicles, which will continue to grow at a rate of 3.4% per annum.