• Estimated cost of the project raised to Rs 175.19 billion
  • Total length reduced by 3.7 km to 72.5 km
  • Nepali Army to construct 17-km stretch on its own

Kathmandu, August 21

The construction of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track is expected to gain momentum as the Cabinet has approved its detailed project report.

Brig Gen Bigyan Dev Pandey, the spokesperson for Nepali Army, said the Cabinet meeting held on Monday approved the DPR of the project.

“We plan to initiate construction of tunnels and bridges by September-end,” he said, adding that NA aims to complete Nepal’s first fast track project within two years.

According to him, the process of short-listing contractors for construction of bridges is in the final phase, work related to the detailed design has already been completed and NA is preparing necessary documents to call tender for construction of tunnels.

On February 4, a South Korean firm — Soosung Engineering and Consulting Company — had submitted the DPR of the project to Nepali Army. The Ministry of Defence forwarded it to the Cabinet on March 16.

According to Pandey, the project will be constructed based on ‘Asian Highway Class I’ standards. This means that the highway will have four or more lanes and the construction material used for the pavement will be asphalt or cement concrete.

Based on the DPR, the construction cost of the project has been estimated at Rs 175.19 billion, which is Rs 63.19 billion more than the earlier estimate of Rs 112 billion. “The consultant company has determined the estimated cost of the project based on the government set rate and international standards.”

The DPR has also reduced the length of the fast track by 3.7 kilometres to 72.5 km, primarily due to change in alignment of the route in Khokana, added Pandey.

NA has been assigned full responsibility of carrying out the fast track project, which has been segregated into three segments. Before the revision in length, NA had said it would construct 17 km on its own, hire dependable Nepali contractors for 37 km of the stretch and assign foreign contractors to build the remaining 22.2 km section, which includes tunnels and bridges.

Though only a width of 25 metres of the fast track will be metalled, NA has cleared a breadth of 30 metres. Of the total length, 3.9 km of the fast track will lie in Kathmandu district, 6.9 km in Lalitpur, 55.7 km in Makawanpur and 6 km in Bara. Meanwhile, NA has already inked contract with 32 local firms for different sections of the project, but some works were halted in the absence of the final DPR.

According to Pandey, NA will construct three tunnels — one in Mahadev Danda of Lalitpur district and one each in Dhandre Danda and Len Danda of Makawanpur district. The total length of the tunnels will be 4.41 km.

There will be 87 small and big bridges along the fast track as mentioned in the DPR.

As per the DPR, the alignment has been changed to preserve the Sikali temple and other historic places around Khokana and Bungamati areas.