Kathmandu, July 21
The widening of Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga road, a crucial section of strategic road networks (SRN) in Kathmandu Valley will start this fiscal year. The contractor selection process has reached the final stage, according to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT).
The section is being extended under two separate packages — Tripureshwor-Kalanki and Kalanki-Nagdhunga. As per the Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project (KVRIP), the Tripureshwor-Kalanki road is planned to be widened to six lanes (18 metres) from the existing four lanes, which is 12 metres wide and it will also have improved pavement for pedestrians, besides alignment dividing green belt in the middle of the road.
Similarly, Kalanki-Nagdhunga section will be upgraded to four lanes from the seven-metre two lanes at present.
“The construction of Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga road is projected to start within this year,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary of MoPIT. He added that work on clearing right-of-way (RoW) on both sides of the section will start within the next three months, as contractor selection work has reached the final stage.
However, acquiring land for the road improvement project is likely to be difficult with locals who have built physical structure within RoW demanding compensation. The government will be required to demolish structures built flouting RoW rules of 25 metres in the Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga road, as per the KVRIP officials. They said that some structures falling under the Kalanki-Nagdhunga have already been cleared but there is a big challenge in removing structures in between the Tripureshwor-Kalanki section.
To demolish structures that have been built encroaching the RoW, KVRIP will be coordinating with the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA). As a part of preparation to award the contract, the KVRIP recently issued a letter of intent (LoI) for pavement maintenance and widening of Kalanki-Nagdhunga section. Pavement maintenance and widening of this 9.11 km section will cost a total of Rs 1.53 billion, as per the LoI. The improvement of the road has been planned to be completed within three years and would help reduce traffic congestion being faced in the Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga section.
Kalanki-Nagdhunga section of Tribhuvan Highway is the main gateway to enter Kathmandu Valley. The traffic congestion in this section has been a major headache due to growth in traffic volume, which is beyond the capacity of the existing road. To ease the vehicle movement, the government has also targeted to start construction of Thankot-Naubise tunnel road, according to the budget for current fiscal.
This tunnel road plan has been allocated a total of Rs 1.67 billion for the current fiscal year. The heavy growth in traffic has been creating challenges in easing traffic movement to and from the Valley. In the budget for current fiscal year, there is also a plan to start widening of Suryabinayak-Dhulikhel section of Araniko Highway to six lanes this year and the project has been allocated a total of Rs 1.7 billion.
A version of this article appears in print on July 22, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.