Bibek Subedi, Kathmandupost, Mar 2, 2018
The Department of Roads (DoR) is preparing to upgrade the 96-km Naubise-Mugling section of the Prithvi Highway, one of Nepal’s busiest highways and the Kathmandu Valley’s key supply line.
The route is being widened to four lanes from two, and construction is slated to start in the next fiscal year. The DoR has prepared a detailed project report (DPR) for the scheme which is expected to cost $300 million. The World Bank is being considered as a potential financier.
“We have been negotiating with the Work Bank to obtain a credit line to execute the project,” said Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, chief of the Foreign Cooperation Branch at the department.
“After the multilateral lender agrees to provide a loan, we will prepare the bid documents and award the contract for the upgradation of the road. We are planning to complete the entire process and start construction at the beginning of the next fiscal year.”
As per the DPR, sections of the highway that cannot be widened due to the difficult terrain will be left as they are. The project will build bypasses across the Trishuli River that flows alongside the highway to get around such bottlenecks.
“We will have to build several bypasses with a combined length of 25 km on the other side of the river,” said Shrestha. The department said that it would take three to three and a half years to complete the project.
The upgradation of the key highway represents a milestone in infrastructural
development. However, ensuring a smooth flow of traffic on the route during the construction period will be a major challenge. Around 20,000 vehicles pass over the highway daily
Travellers are already facing a lot difficulties due to the ongoing upgradation of the Mugling-Narayanghat section that links Prithvi Highway with the East-West Highway in the south. It can take as long as 12 hours to traverse the 33.2-km stretch.
The Mugling-Narayanghat road is being improved to Asian Highway standard with a Rs3 billion aid package from the World Bank. The upgradation project will also address road safety, axle load control and environmental sustainability issues along the trade corridor.
The road will be expanded to double lanes and have a width of 9-11 metres. The current width of the road is 5.5 metres. The road will be widened up to 11 metres from Aaptari to Jugedi and up to 9 metres till Mugling.