On the road to economic growth

Project

Lahore-Islamabad Motorway

Year

1992-1999

Location
Pakistan
Client

National Highway Authority (NHA)

23

Interchanges

87

Flyovers and bridges

193

Underpasses

101

Major drainage structures

Completed in 1999, the six-lane Lahore to Islamabad Motorway, now called the M-2, was the first highway of its kind in Pakistan.

This project set the bench mark for its quality of work and it has been used as a point of reference for motorways designed and constructed ever since. It was the first time that Civil3D Software and simulations were used for design on a highway project in Pakistan. The Incremental Launching Method (ILM) was also applied for the first time in the country to build three bridges spanning 500 m to 1000+ m. In fact, one of the highest pillared-bridges in Asia at Khewra Range is part of the motorway.

Located along a centuries-old trade route, Pakistan is positioned along a key transport corridor to China and Central Asia. The M-2 created fast-link, open access between Lahore and Islamabad, and is also a major part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The quality of workmanship is so high it can be used as a runway by the Pakistan Air Force.

SMEC was appointed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) in 1992 to carry out design review, contract administration, construction supervision and quality control for the construction of a major motorway to provide a safe and fast link between the historical capital of the Punjab, Lahore and the federal capital, Islamabad.

The 367-km motorway, which was SMEC’s largest single road six-lane motorway project up until 2016, is a divided carriageway with controlled access and is also operated as a tollway. The many technical firsts of the project played a significant role in the modernisation of the NHA. For example, it was the first road project in Pakistan to be completely supervised using software and changed the overall culture of the NHA by introducing the latest technologies under a transfer of technology.

This was the first road project in Pakistan to be completely supervised using software and changed the overall culture of the NHA by introducing the latest technologies

The most challenging phase of the project was building the motorway through the Salt Range, a hill system in the Punjab that derives its name from its extensive deposits of rock salt. With hanging cliffs of more than 40 m and unstable strata like shale and lime stones, the contractors faced very serious landslides and land movement issues during blasting and rainy seasons. Drawing on our international experience, SMEC played a key role in proposing solutions for both technical and safety outcomes.

Project

Lahore-Islamabad Motorway

Year

1992-1999

Location
Pakistan
Client

National Highway Authority (NHA)

23

Interchanges

87

Flyovers and bridges

193

Underpasses

101

Major drainage structures

Trips between Lahore and Islamabad that previously took at least two days could be completed in a single day.

By ensuring safe, reliable movement of people and goods, the M2 contributed hugely to the economic development of the country, opening up the hinterland areas, encouraging population growth and transforming the pattern of transportation in Pakistan. Trips between Lahore and Islamabad that previously took at least two days could be completed in a single day.

Major industries and agricultural sectors in Sheikhupura, Pindi Bhattian, Kot Momin, Salem, Bhera, Lilla, Faisalabad and Mandi Baha Uddin enjoyed the direct benefit of a competitive transportation system, facilitating the export of goods.

Tourism increased, leading to the construction of tourism resorts and creating countless jobs.

The Government of Punjab also plans to establish a New Economic City (NEC) near the Jhelum River and Qaide Azam Apparel Park close to Sheikhupura along the M-2.

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