Six-lane road proposed for Bhaktapur, Surya Vinayak section

Shashi Dhungel

Bhaktapur, June 13:

Aside from two-wheelers, the number of vehicles plying between Koteshwor and Surya Vinayak is more than 10,000. The Banepa - Bardibas highway which is supposed to be completed four years from now is likely to increase the density of traffic in this section. Though the length of the section is just 8.3 km, because of traffic density it takes more than 40 minutes to negotiate it. “With the opening of the Banepa-Bardibas section, the existing two-lane road will not be able to withstand traffic density. It is high time that the Department of Roads comes up with an alternative for diverting vehicles in that section,” said Kamal Raj Pande, deputy director general, planning and design at DoR. “DoR has proposed making the existing road a fast-track with two service roads on either side. A detailed feasibility survey is yet to be done but it is estimated that the cost of construction would be more than Rs 1billion,” said Pande.

DoR has ownership of 25 metres of land on either side of the road and these have already been cleared. Two bridges over Hanumante River and Manohara River are to be integrated while service utilities like electricity and trolley bus poles will be relocated in the section.

“With donors like World Bank and Asian Development Bank focussing on projects identified by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and unfavourable investment policies for the private sector, DoR is looking for donors to support the expansion of the road. We have forwarded the proposal to Japan and it has shown interest,” Pande said. The government is also planning to establish an Export Promotion Zone (EPZ) in Panchkhal in order to shorten the travelling distance to and from Tribhuvan International Airport. The construction of the road will also help boost trade between Nepal and China as it is the only highway that links Kathmandu to the frontier of China.