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A safer, greener motorway in Pakistan


Sukkur - Multan Motorway



The 392 km Sukkur to Multan Motorway is a critical element of the Peshawar to Karachi Motorway Route.

A lifeline for Pakistan’s economy, it is a high speed (120 km/h), controlled access, six-lane modern motorway that forms part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The motorway was opened to traffic in November 2019 and made operational by March 2020. It is the largest motorway in Pakistan, and one of the largest motorway projects by size and cost in the South Asia Region.

SMEC and EGC, in a joint venture with five local engineering consultancy firms, were appointed by Pakistan’s National Highway Authority to act as Assistant to the Employer’s Representative. The scope and magnitude of the project demanded high standards of technical excellence across multiple disciplines. Our teams delivered project design review, supervision of civil works and monitoring of operations and maintenance activities. The project was completed well within the timeframe and has strengthened SMEC’s reputation for strong delivery of large infrastructure projects in Pakistan, particularly in the highways and expressways sectors.

The Sukkur to Multan Motorway is the first smart motorway in Pakistan with an Intelligent Transportation System, electronic toll collection system, electronic fine system and automated systems to detect speeding and overloading. Another significant element of the project is the tree planting and extensive landscaping, at a scale that goes beyond what has been achieved on previous motorway projects. A total of 415,000 trees were planted along both sides of the motorway, and the team designed and delivered the landscaping of 12 service areas, 10 rest areas and 12 interchanges. The landscaped area covers around 26 million square meters, equivalent to 6,500 acres or 26 km2.  

Cleaner and greener

Under the supervision of SMEC's horticultural experts, extensive plant nurseries were developed to supply varied native flora and more than 400,000 species have been planted on both sides of the motorway. It is estimated that these trees will absorb an average of 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year for up to 40 years. In addition to plants, the embankment slopes were green-scaped to prevent soil erosion.

The outcome of this work not only improves the aesthetics of the motorway but also has positive environmental impacts by providing enhanced habitats for birds and fauna, as well as reducing air pollution and dust, with various trees and shrubs acting as a natural sink for air pollutants.

Sowing the seeds for economic uplift

The motorway successfully connected several fruit tree farms, which provide agricultural income for many locals. It has also increased connectivity to famous historical sites. This will uplift socio-economic activities for the region through tourism and the quick delivery of crops and fruits from farm to market.

Travel time between the two cities has been reduced from about 9 hours to 4 ½ hours. Increased communication infrastructure has also promoted new business opportunities, and new industrial parks and business zones along the motorway are in the pipeline.

In addition, the employment rate increased considerably during and beyond construction. The motorway employed more than 30,000 people at its peak, approximately 97 per cent of whom were local. This approach enhanced small business opportunities and more than 6000 locals remain employed.