Deputy Secretary of State Jacob J. Lew and Pakistan’s Finance Secretary Salman Siddique today signed a letter of intent regarding cooperation in construction of priority roads in Pakistan to aid in Malakand Reconstruction. Implementation of the construction project is scheduled to begin following the signature of an Amended Letter of Agreement between the Government of the United States and the Government of Pakistan and the obligation of funds. The project will consist of $40 million in United States assistance to upgrade two key roads: the Peshawar Ring Road and the road from Kanju to Madyan in Swat, North West Frontier Province. Both nations seek to prioritize the issues of greatest importance to the Pakistani people: security and economic growth. Better roads improve security by enhancing access by law enforcement officials, lower the cost of marketing farm output, enhance trade and transportation, and generate jobs. The projects will be executed through the NWFP Government and will be awarded to Pakistani companies using established, competitive procedures.
The project will involve the construction of approximately 43 kilometers of the Kanju-Madyan road in Swat, NWFP. This strategically important road in the devastated Swat area will facilitate the movements of security forces, help maintain public safety, and address post conflict infrastructure rehabilitation.
The Peshawar Ring Road project will reconstruct the ring road, which passes through rural areas, by adding a third truck lane, constructing a four kilometer bypass of the Hayatabad residential area, and linking the road to the Matani bypass road that the United States is currently supporting. This road was originally built in the late 1990s as a dual carriage way with two lanes in each direction, but is now the main route for heavy trucks and trailers traveling through the Torkam Pass, the major trade route to and from Afghanistan. As a result of the heavy truck traffic the road has been severely damaged, which slows traffic and makes vehicles more vulnerable to criminal elements along the way.