East-West Highway to be widened


The ageing East-West Highway, the lifeline of the country, will start getting a new look gradually from the next fiscal year. The government is preparing to upgrade it to four lanes from the existing two lanes to cater to the increased traffic movement.

In the first phase, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) has targeted to upgrade sections between Narayanghat-Dhalkebar which is around 215 km. The ‘Policies and Programmes’ for next fiscal which was presented by President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday, has also mentioned that some parts of the East-West Highway and the bridges along it would be widened to four lanes.

According to MoPIT, showing interest in the highway widening plan, World Bank and Asian Development Bank are conducting studies on their part. “World Bank and Asian Development Bank will support us in the East-West Highway widening plan,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary of MoPIT. He added studies have shown that the section of the highway east to Butwal needs to be immediately widened to four lanes.

Some 18 km section of the highway in Nijgadh-Pathlaiya section will be upgraded by the developer of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track road. Increased traffic and narrow highways have emerged as a big problem affecting the smooth flow of vehicle for travel and trade.

MoPIT said as only the widening of the road will not suffice, a project is already being carried out to upgrade old bridges in different sections of the East-West Highway to double lane or replace with new ones. Bridges in Dhalkebar-Pathlaiya section of the highway have been kept in top priority.