CPEC link Astore Valley Road project inaugurated
ASTORE, May 30 (Gwadar Pro)- Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid on Monday afternoon inaugurated the start of work on Section 3 of the historic Astore Valley Road project to provide alternate routes to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The project will be completed under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to connect GB to Islamabad via Muzaffarabad after completion of Shunter Tunnel project in future.
This project is an important part of Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid's vision to connect GB with Islamabad through 3 alternative routes as part of the projects facilitating the CPEC mega plan.
Recently, in a move to provide alternate routes to the CPEC project, the federal government had approved two inter-provincial connectivity road projects in GB to link the region with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) at a cumulative cost of Pakistani Rs 70 billion.
These regional connectivity roads would connect the strategically located northern part of the country with KP and AJK, ultimately linking it with the rest of the country.
Earlier, the National Highway Authority (NHA) was contemplating linking AJK with GB through the construction of a grand highway from Shounter in Neelum valley to Astore in GB.
The proposed Shounter-Astore highway was expected to reduce the distance between AJK and GB by several hundred kilometers besides a reduction in traveling time by over eight hours.
There are two ways to approach Astore Valley - from Skardu via Deosai Plain is 7-8 hours’ drive covering a distance of about 152 Kms while the other one is direct from Karakoram Highway to Astore valley.
Distance from Islamabad is 494 km, an 11.5 hrs drive along River Indus, whereas, distance from Raikot Bridge to Astore is 55 km, a 1.5 hrs drive.
Astore is the hub to access many tourist attractions, surrounded by Diamer in its west, Gilgit in the north, Skardu in the east, and Neelum district in the south.
Besides the picturesque and enigmatic landscape of Astore valley itself, Astore is the central point to access many natural attractions specifically in the Skardu region.