In August 2022, unprecedented heavy downpours hit Pakistan very hard affecting one-third of the country severing road/ rail communication links. Resultantly the province of Balochistan was cut off from the rest of the country. The deluge caused flash floods that caused widespread devastation of infrastructure across the country in general and Balochistan in particular. The old British-era Railways Bridge at Hirok constructed in 1890’s in Bolan District collapsed by the floods cutting provincial rail connectivity with the rest of the country.
Federal Minister of Railways Mr Khawaja Saad Rafique visited Balochistan bridge site in the first week of September taking cognizance of difficulties of the area and other factors wherein other contractors may have been unable to work. National Logistics Cell (NLC) was asked to take on the challenge of construction of the Hirok Railway Bridge. The NLC has a decades-long experience of working on nation-building projects in the rugged terrains of Balochistan and was thus deemed best suited for the challenging assignment. The task at hand required high-end professional expertise and swift execution to restore the vital communication link at the earliest. In response, the NLC employed its finest engineering professionals and the latest construction machinery to ensure the expeditious and quality work of the project. The NLC Engineers formed different teams that worked round the clock on the bridge without observing the holiday and constituted day and night shifts.
It is important to mention here that complete design was provided in Nov 2022, right on the onset of harsh winters and Contract Agreement was concluded in the month of February 23. However, by then NLC completed more than fifty percent of the work owing to strategic importance of the link and facilitation needed by the people of Balochistan. The remoteness of the project site was embedded with numerous challenges, including construction materials, water and the precarious security situation in the area. Nonetheless, NLC overcame these challenges, ensuring that the project met international standards and was completed in a record time.
With the successful completion of the bridge, rail connectivity of Balochistan with other parts of Pakistan was restored. The first train crossed the bridge on 15 April 2023. The quality of work with optimum execution of pace adhering to established engineering practices: undertaken by the NLC has been lauded by the people of Balochistan, senior officials of the provincial government and Pakistan Railways. Construction of Hirok Railway Bridge and restoration of railway operations is testimony of excellence and NLC's unwavering commitment to the nation-building projects.