Kathmandu, February 3
To ease the perennial traffic jam at Koteshwor junction of the Ring Road in Kathmandu, the government is mulling over a plan to utilise the road parallel to Manohara River from Jadibuti to Balkumari.
Rabindra Nath Shrestha, director general of the Department of Roads (DoR), has said that the corridor along the Manohara River from Jadibuti to Balkumari could be a viable alternative to minimise the traffic congestion at Koteshwor. “The Manohara corridor is currently in a bad condition with only two-wheelers and small four-wheelers using the path,” he informed, adding that DoR wants to upgrade the corridor so that even large vehicles can utilise the road.
According to Shrestha, vehicles coming from Bhaktapur and heading towards Lalitpur or vice versa will be able to skirt the Koteshwor junction once the road along the Manohara corridor has been upgraded. It will also allow people from Bhaktapur going towards various places of Lalitpur and Kathmandu districts to bypass the Koteshwor junction where vehicles at present have to wait for at least half an hour due to the traffic congestion especially during office hours.
“We plan to build a bridge across the Manohara River in between Jadibuti and Balkumari for vehicles coming to and from Bhaktapur to utilise the corridor,” he informed. “We will look for an appropriate place to construct the bridge.”
Meanwhile, in June last year, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, had stated that the ministry plans to construct a tunnel in Koteshwor area to reduce the traffic congestion. However, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) raised an objection to that plan citing that it could affect the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport and the plan was dropped.
The MoCTCA had mentioned that the tunnel cannot be constructed without any serious study and discussions with stakeholders.
As per Shrestha, a Japanese team had conducted an initial study about three years back regarding the length and the cost estimation of the tunnel in Koteshwor but the study has not been made public yet. Meanwhile, the government had been allocating budget for the project for the past two years but the budget remains unutilised.
A version of this article appears in print on February 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.