Narayangarh-Mugling road repair not likely to complete before monsoon

Himalayan News Service

Chitwan, May 8:

The repair and maintenance work of the damaged Narayangarh-Mugling road section has started. But with the monsoons barely a month away, it is almost impossible to expect the completion of the work before the rains hit the country. The road was flooded last Ashadh-Shrawan by incessant rains.

The divisional engineer of road division office, Bharatpur, Bishnu Kumar Shrestha, said the road would be ready for a two-way traffic within the month of Jestha and the damaged bridge at Jugedi would be repaired in Ashadh. But only one-way traffic is possible at a dozen sections along the 36-km road. Around a kilometre of the road at Keraghari and Simlata has been damaged allowing the passage of only one-way traffic. This section gets blocked even during drizzles. A two-way traffic was resumed along 24.6 km of the road, but it has already started to buckle in, said Shrestha.

Kalika Construction in a joint venture with Adarsha Private Limited has started construction work at the site under the supervision of World Bank. Two bridges have been completely damaged while six culverts have been swept away. "We had estimated a budget of Rs 140 million for the work. But it has now increased to around Rs 180 million," Shrestha said.

In the first phase, the National Construction Corporation (NCCN) had been contracted to complete the work within the month of Falgun for a cost of Rs 18.8 million. However, the NCCN has just finished building walls in the 32.2 km section.

Despite the delay, the second phase of the work has started under the supervision of the World Bank. The estimated time for the second phase is 18 months. Shrestha said the 6.5-metre wide road would be widened to 7.5 metres. He pointed out that flooding of the rivers and encroachment of forest areas are the major reasons for road damage. Soil erosion is another reason. Shrestha said that till a solution to the root cause of road damage is found, it would be difficult to maintain the roads, saying "government must be aware of this. But it is weak about raising awareness in this regard."