In what is being called a "breakthrough" in China’s One Belt One Road strategy, state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has been awarded the contract to build a major new motorway in Pakistan.
The $2.89bn engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract sees CSCEC building a 392-km motorway between Sukkur in Sindh province north to Multan in the Punjab region.
It will greatly improve local transport conditions of the most populous and developed regions in Pakistan, promote local economic development and play a positive role in the interconnection between China and Pakistan– CSCEC
The stretch will eventually become part of the much longer Karachi-to-Peshawar motorway, a key part of the planned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
"The successful signing of the contract signifies the official launching of the biggest infrastructure project in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and an important and substantial breakthrough of CSCEC in following national strategy of ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative," CSCEC said in announcing the contract on 22 December.
Under the contract, CSCEC will build a bi-directional, six-lane motorway with a design speed of 120km/h.
CSCEC said it will build the road in 36 months.
"Upon its completion," CSCEC said, "it will greatly improve local transport conditions of the most populous and developed regions in Pakistan, promote local economic development and play a positive role in the interconnection between China and Pakistan."
The CPEC mega-scheme is being promoted as a rail and road network, oil and gas pipelines, fibre optic cables and a string of power stations running from northwest China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region through Pakistan to Gwadar, a strategic port on the Arabian Sea.
In April 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping used his first visit to Pakistan to oversee the signing of more than 50 deals covering infrastructure, energy, and other areas relating CPEC, which has been valued at $46bn.
Image: Approximate route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Map (Wanishahrukh/Wikimedia Commons)