Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance and Planning has allocated PKR2bn ($22.5m) to the National Highway Authority (NHA) to resume the construction of the Lowari Tunnel. .

The tunnel spans 8.75km from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan to Dir and Chitral Valley and serves as a corridor link to the Asian countries through the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan route, linking Chitral to the rest of the country with an

The tunnel will also provide all-weather transport link to Chitral Valley, which remains cut off from other parts of the country during winter.

After completion, the tunnel will improve Pakistan’s link with the landlocked Central Asian state of Tajikistan through a narrow strip of Afghanistan, as well as reducing travel time between Peshawar and Chitral to 5-6 hours from its previous 12-14 hours.

Around 65% of the PKR8bn ($90m) Lowari tunnel project on Nowshera-Dir-Chitral Road (N-45) was completed by March 2011, including the completion of 70% of the 9km access roads on both sides of the tunnel.

Work on the freight tunnel began in 2005 by Korean firm SAMBU and several Pakistani firms.

The first phase of the project involves construction of a tunnel and the second phase involves a railway track.