Contracts worth more than $60 million have been awarded for three packages on the provincial highways project. Bids are being evaluated for the remaining three packages on the $205 million scheme, which aims to improve and upgrade roads in the four provinces.

In Punjab the work has been split into three packages. The first package has gone to South Korea’s Hanbo Steel & General Construction for $45.9 million and is for work on 137 kilometres of roads. A company identified as China Electric & Power is the low bidder for the second 120-kilometre package, and an Italian company identified as Pavital is the low bidder for the third 57-kilometre package. Awards are expected to be made by mid-November.

Only one project will be undertaken in each of the remaining three provinces. Hanbo has a $17.8 million contract for an 89-kilometre project in Baluchistan, and China Yunnan Corporation has a $14 million contract for work on 90 kilometres of roads in North West Frontier Province. Bids were received on 20 October for work on 102 kilometres in Sind. An unidentified Chinese firm is understood to be the low bidder for the work, and an award is expected by the end of the year.

The Asian Development Bank is lending $165 million towards the costs of the scheme, with the remaining 20 per cent being provided by the government.