Rawalpindi-The government, under its efforts to promote tourism in the region, was going to start construction work of Tourism Expressway and the project would be completed in two years.
According to Chairman Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Tariq Mehmood Murtaza, surveys and study of the project had been completed. The total cost of the project had been estimated as Rs4.5 billion and the first tranche of Rs1.5 billion had been released, he informed.
The road would be an alternative route from Rawalpindi to Murree for tourists and to reach new tourist destinations that would pass through four tehsils of Rawalpindi district. 123 kilometers long existing 12 to 13 feet wide road would be reconstructed and widened further up to 24 feet under the Tourism Highway project.
It’s a public sector development project and approved by the PM Imran Khan to promote tourism in the region and the project to be executed by Communication and Works Department, Punjab, he added.
He informed that the federal government had released Rs1.5 billion for the construction of 123km long tourism expressway from Rawat Pandori Chowk to the four hilly tehsils of Rawalpindi – Kahuta, Kotli Sattian, Kalar Syedan and Murree.
He said construction work of the project would be started soon and the project would be completed in two years.
He said the expressway would be 24 feet wide and would pass through the dense forest of Panjar. This would be an alternative road from Rawalpindi to Muzaffarabad and pass through Kotli Sattian, Kahuta, Kallar Syedan and Murree.
He said the area on both sides of the expressway would have commercial buildings, plazas, factories, markets, hospitals and educational institutions while large parks would also be set up along the road. Tariq Murtaza told that they also had chalked out a plan to plant 300,000 fruit, flower and shade trees on both sides of the expressway.
He said 20,000 to 30,000 local traditional fruit trees of the Pothohar and Kohsar region would be planted along the expressway.
“This road would also create employment opportunities,” he said adding that the road would be connected to Kotli Sattian from Union Council Narh of Kahuta.
He also informed that this road would provide easy access and short time travel to historical Panj Pir rocks, which was a major tourist destination.
He said the plan was finalised to make Kotli Sattian a new tourist spot to reduce congestion in Murree.
The chairman said through tourism, the living standards of the residents could also be uplifted and they could get opportunities to earn their livelihood in their native areas.
Kotli Sattian would be developed as an alternative to Murree and the provincial government was chalking out a plan to improve the area and identify new tourism sites, he added.