The Karakoram Highway, also known as the Friendship Highway in China, was built by the governments of Pakistan and China. It was started in 1959 and was completed and opened to the public in 1979.
The tunnels have been constructed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) in collaboration with the China Road and Bridge Corporation to restore part of the road submerged by the Attabad Lake. The project has been named as Pakistan-China Friendship Tunnels.
A large section of the highway was damaged by a landslide in 2010 that created Attabad Lake. The resulting landslides cut off both the hunza River and Karakoram Highway resulting in the formation of the reservoir.Construction of the tunnels began in 2012 and required 36 months for completion. The project has been completed in a span of three years and two months.
The 24 km long series of bridges and tunnels was inaugurated on 15 September 2015 at a cost of $275 million and was hailed as a major accomplishment. The route comprises 5 tunnels and several bridges. The longest tunnel is 3360M, followed by 2736m, 435m, 410m and 195m, while the Shishkat Great Bridge on Hunza River is 480m long.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project would greatly benefit all regions of the country including Gilgit-Baltistan. The corridor will link Gawadar deepsea port in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province with Kashgar in western China. The mega project envisages Chinese investments worth $46 billion. The realignment restored the road link between Pakistan and China.