Wednesday 16 January 2019

€410m plan to straighten out Khyber Pass

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

Anum Mirza

The Khyber Pass, which has for centuries been a gateway for armies and traders crossing between Afghanistan and the Indian sub-continent, is to get a new road straightening its steep inclines and perilous curves.

As one of the world's most famous strategic routes, it has seen the invading forces of Alexander the Great, the Persians, Mughals, Afghans and British.

Yet the winding curves and steep slopes of the pass linking Peshawar to the Afghan border are now slowing trade between Pakistan and Central Asia.

The World Bank has agreed to fund a €410m project which will place a four-lane expressway at the heart of an economic corridor through the pass.

By reducing the gradient of the route, and easing some of its tightest curves, engineers say they can improve traffic flow and spur trade by cutting transport time and costs.

Truck drivers on the current road alternate between crawling uphill at little more than walking pace, or descending with their foot on the brake as they try to stay in control. The new road will add to the existing 25-mile route but, by easing slopes and curves, it is hoped it will still halve the journey time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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