Lowari Tunnel, once completed, would certainly be a true blessing for people of Chitral and those visiting the district as it would not only rid them of the hard and dangerous pass but also ensure uninterrupted communication with the valley throughout the year.
The 9 Km vehicular tunnel under the Lowari Pass of the Hindu Kush mountains, between Dir and Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is operated by the NHA and carries traffic on the N-45, thus bypassing Lowari Pass. Construction was partly completed by June 2017. At the feet of mighty Hindu Kush range, the brazen human activities to dig deep into the Mother Nature by connecting the two districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ie; Chitral and Upper Dir are really miracle for the beholders.
The idea of having a tunnel in the mountain was first floated by a former member of the National Assembly from Chitral Jaafar Ali Shah in 1970. Originally conceived as a railway tunnel, construction began in September 1975 and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. However, less than a year later work stopped in 1976 due to non allocation of funds. Construction resumed again in September 2005 and was initially expected to be completed by 2009 and to convert it into a vehicle road tunnel.
Lowari Pass is one of the most dangerous land routes in the world. Fatal accidents are frequently reported there. The road is also deteriorated. It is very dangerous to negotiate with the acute curves on the sky-high mountains. But this is the only route leading to Chitral, which too remains blocked for at least three months in winter due to heavy snowfall, cutting off the district from the rest of the country. The Lowari Tunnel was the best alternative to the Lowari Pass. during the winter season completely turns the area into avalanche-prone, making it impossible for the populace on both sides of the mountains to cross over. Still as the people narrate, they tried to cross it in haphazard manner, losing numerous precious lives in the past.
The tunnel essentially allows traffic on the N45 to bypass the Lowari Pass and will reduce the 14 hour drive between Chitral and Peshawar to only 7 hours. The tunnel will also facilitate all-weather transportation, as during the long winter season the Lowari Pass is closed, and travelers to and from of Chitral have to travel into Afghanistan and then back into Pakistan to access the rest of the country. Located near the Lowari top at the height of about 7,200 feet and consid-ered a low pass when compared with other four passes located in Chitral, the route had been a popular shortest tradi-tional way to reach Peshawar.
lowari tunnel Map
Located at – Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.