ADB to give $335mn loan to Pakistan for Peshawar BRT system

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pakistan on Tuesday signed a $335 million loan to help develop a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Peshawar, the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 
The project will improve public transport of the city through a state of the art integrated BRT system. 
Xiaohong Yang, ADB's Country Director for Pakistan and Shahid Mahmood, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) for the Government of Pakistan, signed the loan agreement in Islamabad. Dawood Khan, Secretary Transport and Mass Transit Department Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed the project agreement on behalf of the provincial government. Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony. 
"Peshawar is a center of trade and commerce not only in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province but for the broader region. The city's booming population has been causing tremendous traffic congestion and pressure on its public transport infrastructure and basic urban services negatively impacting its economic growth" said Ms. Yang. "The BRT corridor will improve the quality of life of the city's residents by offering safer, efficient, and affordable public transportation. The modern technology used in the project will also cut emissions, and make commuting easier and safer for women, and attract businesses and investors to the city." 
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank are also expected to co-finance the project. 
The Peshawar BRT corridor will span 26 kilometers from Chamkani to Hayatabad, mainly at-grade along the GT road with a 6-km elevated section in the city-center and tunnel or trench section at junctions to ensure its full segregation. The system will include 32 stations, 1 staging facility and 2 depots. The entire corridor will be restructured along the new BRT infrastructure, including upgraded mixed traffic lanes, sidewalks, streetlights and drainage. It will have many innovative features such as park-and-ride facilities, and a continuous walkway and bicycle lanes built along the at-grade sections and underneath the elevated section. Bicycle parking will also be provided on pilot basis at BRT stations to allow commuters to use bicycles as their first or last mile connectivity to the BRT. The Peshawar BRT project is a transformational venture for the city that will lead to urban renewal on a wide scale. -NNI