Swat Motorway (M-16 Motorway)

The Swat Motorway Pakistan (also called the Swat Expressway) is approximately 160 km (90 Miles) long and is a high-speed route. The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) completed the Swat Motorway, a large-scale development project comprising a two-way limited-access expressway with multiple lanes to provide convenience to travelers at a total cost of PKR 36 billion.

Swat Motorway Location

In the southern part of Swat, the M-16 Motorway runs from the Kernal Sher Khan Interchange on the M1 Motorway to a location close to the Chakdara bridge on National Highway N-45.

Features of Swat Motorway

Swat Motorway Pakistan (Swat Expressway) consists of 21 bridges and twin tunnels of 1300 meters, and seven interchanges. It starts at Nowshera and ends at Chakdara. The interchanges on M-16 Motorway include 

  • Karnal Sher Khan Interchange of M1
  • Dobian Interchange
  • Ismaila Interchange
  • Bakhshalay Interchange
  • Katlang Interchange
  • Palai Interchange
  • Chakdara Interchange

The route of the M-16 Motorway will provide easy access to previously inaccessible remote areas and tourism spots in KPK, which is one of its significant features.

Routes of Swat Motorway Pakistan

Phase 1 of the Swat motorway, built by the Frontier Works Organization, runs from Nowshera to Chakdara in the Lower Dir District, fleeting through the districts of Swabi, Mardan, Swat, and Malakand. The first phase, which began construction in August 2016, opened to traffic on June 3 of this year, cutting the distance between Nowshera and Chakdara in half from the previous three hours. After passing through Chakdara, Mingora, Kanju, Barikot, Shamozai, Sher Palam, Malam Jabba, Matta Khwazakhela, and the Madayan-Fatehpur Interchange, phase two of the motorway will run 79 kilometers north to its terminus at Fatehpur.ECNEC approved the land purchase for Swat Motorway Phase-II on July 16, 2020, for $138 million. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will fund the extension with $517 million. The National Highway Authority’s projected E90 Expressway ends in Swat, and the Swat motorway in Pakistan, also known as the M-16 Motorway, should be distinguished.

Swat Motorway Speed Limit

The Swat motorway Pakistan has varying speed limits. The maximum speed limit for light transport vehicles, such as motor cars, is 120 km/h (74.5 mph). For heavy transport vehicles and public service vehicles, the maximum speed limit is 110 km/h (68.3 mph) on the motorway. On highways, dual carriageways, and expressways in Swat and throughout Pakistan, the maximum speed limit for light transport vehicles is 100 km/h (62 mph) and 90 km/h (56 mph) for heavy transport vehicles. These standard maximum speed limits may vary depending on the weather, traffic, and road conditions. It is essential to follow the displayed speed limit during your travel. If you exceed the speed limit or drive at a speed that is not safe for the conditions, you are committing the dangerous act of speeding. 

Swat Motorway Phase 2 Extension

Phase 2 of the Swat Expressway, an 80 km long extension project to the existing phase 1, is planned to link Chakdara Interchange to Fatehpur. Madyan with nine interchanges and eight main bridges over the River Swat. The average distance between these interchanges is approximately 10 Km. The project will include interactions at Chakdara, Shamozai, Barikot, Takhtaband, Kanju, Malam Jabba, Sher Palam, Matta-Khwazkhela, and Madyan Interchange Fatehpur. The estimated cost for this project is Rs 60.5 billion, including Rs 20.5 billion for land and resettlement and a construction cost of Rs 37.2 billion.

Islamabad to Chakdara Motorway Distance

Islamabad to Chakdara expressway distance is 128 km.

Swat Expressway and Tourism in Pakistan

The government has promoted tourism in Swat Valley and the Malakand division, mainly focusing on constructing the M-16 Motorway. People living in the Malakand, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Chitral, Shangla, Mardan, Swat districts, and other areas that depend on motorway transit have profited immensely from the construction of the Swat Expressway. 

With its magnificent landscapes and red hut cottages visible from a long distance, Swat proves that Pakistan is a land of beauty. The dense, deep forest of Swat Tour welcomes tourists to heaven on earth and amazement at every step.

1. Kalam Valley

The Kalam Valley, located 99 km from the Swat Valley and encompassed by the Swat river, is one of the most mesmerizing and prominent spots in Swat. Known as a popular tourist destination, people from all over Pakistan and abroad visit annually. Some notable places within Kalam are Matiltan, Ushio, Usho, Utror, and Gabral, each with significance. The calm and pleasant weather in these locations makes for a perfect combination for tourists, with the best time to visit is from April to September. However, winters in Kalam can be harshly chilly.

2. Kumrat Valley

The Kumrat Valley, located in the Upper Dir District, an almost 9-hour drive from Islamabad and a one-hour drive from Swat, offers beautiful scenery and an abundance of streams and waterfalls. Adventure lovers can use it as a base for camping, but resorts and hotels are also available after a 3-hour trek down the town for those who prefer a more comfortable stay. Every night in Kumrat Valley presents tourists with a stunning sky view, making it an ideal spot for relaxation therapy. Jahaz Banda, Jandrai, Katora Lake, Kala Chashma Lake, Kalkot Banda, and Badagoi Pass are a few of Kumrat’s most popular tourist destinations.

3. Madyan

Tourists experience something out of the world when roaming around Swat, making them feel owned by the valley. Madyan, one of the most popular hill stations in Swat, offers tourists the chance to enjoy the true glamour of the Swat River. The special treat of trout fish, offered at a spot where the tourists can inhale freshness, draws them to visit Madyan.

4. Bahrain

Tourists visit Bahrain all year round due to its riverside hill station location and the meeting point of two different rivers. It is a busy area with plenty of hotels for tourists to stay in and enjoy the charm of the night and the cool breeze of the Daral and Swat Rivers. Additionally, Bahrain is a base camp for the trail leading to the Daral & Saidgai lakes.

5. Marghuzar

Marghuzar is incredibly significant historically because of the White Marble Palace, which Wali-e-Swat Jahanzeb constructed in the first half of the 1940s as the Swat Royal family’s home. When the snow falls in Marghuzar, the white beauty all around makes you feel like you are staying in the clouds while forgetting all the harsh realities of life.

6. Saidu Sharif

Saidu Sharif provides all conveniences for locals and tourists as the administrative center of Swat. 

The city bears Saidu Baba’s name and has several historical attractions, including the Royal Palace, the Swat Museum, and the Tomb of Saidu Sharif. The Swat Museum exhibits Buddhist statues and rich antiques of Gandhara art. The region also has an airport that offers flights from Islamabad to Saidu Sharif.

7. Mahudand Lake

One of the most fascinating and must-visit places in Swat, Mahudand Lake, is the Usho Valley of Kalam. With lush pastures for camping, the enormous Hindu Kush peaks form a perfect backdrop. Tourists should visit the lake during midsummer, as it turns frozen in winter and may cause road blockages for tourists.

8. Malam Jabba

Adventure lovers visit Malam Jabba, an exclusive ski resort located 314 Km away from Islamabad and 51 Km from Saidu Sharif Airport, to enjoy skiing on a thick snowy carpet. The road to Malam Jabba, the most famous hill station of Swat Valley alongside the Hindu Kush Mountain Range, is beautifully constructed into curves. Considered a classic place to enhance the tourism business in Pakistan, Malam Jabba offers all sorts of facilities for winter sports.

9. Fizaghat

You can enjoy various delicious traditional food and the pleasant climate at Fizaghat Park, the favorite tourist point located in the town of Mingora, almost 3.6 Km away. The gushing water of the Swat River and the cool, serene breeze make this visit a dream experience.

10. Kundol Lake

Hundreds and thousands of tourists are magnetically invited to the beautiful lake of Kundol in the lap of the enormous Hindu Kush Mountains all year round. It is located in the north of Utror Valley and is the perfect destination for fishing and boating in the pleasant summer weather.

Swat Motorway is an Alternate Fast Route to Swat Valley.

With its ability to travel at highway speeds, the Swat Motorway Pakistan offers a different path for District Swat, Upper and Lower Dir, Chitral, and other isolated parts of the Malakand and Bajour Agency, fostering interconnection with the nation’s developed districts. The current National Highway N-45, which travels through the developed towns of Mardan, Takhtbai, Shergah, Sakhakot, Rashakai, Dargai, and Batkhela, has seen a considerable reduction in traffic and accidents because of the Swat Expressway.

Swat to Islamabad Distance

Swat Motorway Pakistan has reduced the traveling distance between Swat and Islamabad to roughly 3 hours, which is around 247 Km (153 Miles).

Safe Drive on Swat Motorway Pakistan

High speeds on motorways can have severe and even life-threatening consequences if something goes wrong, so it is a legal obligation to drive within limits and as safely as possible on the Swat Expressway or elsewhere to avoid road accidents and unforeseen circumstances.

Entering the Swat Motorway

Use your right indicator to make it clear to other road users that you intend to merge with M-16 motorway traffic as you move from the slip road towards the motorway. Before connecting, try to maintain a similar pace to the traffic in the left-hand lane and find an acceptable gap. As you near the end of the slip road, avoid abruptly slowing down or stopping because doing so might be hazardous and upsetting for other drivers.

Exiting the Swat Motorway

Before exiting, move to the left lane of the highway.100-yard markers lead up to every departure; turn on your left indicator at the 300-yard quality or earlier. Try not to slow down while still on the M-16 motorway; instead, reduce your speed on the slip road. Some slip roads may have multiple lanes. Make sure you are on the correct route to your intended destination. Pay attention to your speed as you enter the slip road. Once you get to slower ways off the motorway, you might not know how fast you are traveling if you have been traveling at 120 km/h (74.5 mph) for a while.

Lane Discipline

Travel in the left-hand lane. Use the middle and right-hand lanes only for overtaking. Stay in the middle or right-hand lanes only as long as necessary. Hogging the middle lane is now illegal and can put other drivers in danger and annoyance. However, in rare cases, staying in the middle or right-hand lane may be safer. For example, if you need to overtake several slow-moving vehicles, staying in the middle or right-hand lane may be more sensible than constantly switching between streets. When it is safe, move back into the left lane after overtaking the slow-moving vehicles.

Driving on the Swat Expressway at Night

Some drivers feel that nighttime motorway driving is easier because there is less traffic at night. Nighttime motorway driving requires special attention.

Stud colors and their meanings Various colored, reflective studs will mark the road ahead. Use these to understand your position on the motorway at all times. Red studs indicate the rigid shoulder division, amber studs indicate the central reservation division, white studs indicate the mid-lane division, and green studs indicate the slip road division.


Is the Swat motorway completed?

The project’s first phase, which connects the current M-1 motorway at Nowshera to Chakdara, was finished by the team in June 2019. The government will extend the project to Fatehpur in the second phase, which is now under development.

Is there a motorway from Islamabad to Swat?

Swat Motorway connects Islamabad to Swat, reducing the traveling time to approximately 3 hours. The distance between Swat and Islamabad is about 247 Km (153 Miles).


Pakistan has added Swat Motorway to its network of motorways. Significantly reducing congestion and road accidents, the Swat Expressway has significantly impacted transportation in the region.