The Asian Development Bank has approved a $230m loan to Pakistan to finance the second phase of the country’s National Highway Sector Development programme.

The loan, to be provided by ADB’s Multitranche Financing Facility (MFF), is the second loan for the programme after a $180m was awarded for the first phase in 2006.

The programme involves building a network of national highways in the country to boost trade and development by improving regional connectivity to the country’s main economic centres and increasing transport efficiency.

Under the plan, the existing 65km section between Sukkur and Jacobabad will be widened to a four-lane dual carriageway road, a new 5km road bypass at Shikarpur will be built and the existing 155km section between Qila Saifullah and Zhob will be widened to a two-lane carriageway road.

In addition, the Sukkur- Jacobabad Road that links Quetta, the capital of Balochistan with Sindh and Punjab provinces will be renovated.