KAVRE: The earthquake of April 25 and the multiple aftershocks that followed have exposed BP and Araniko highways to high risk during monsoon.
Tremor-induced landslides had led to closure of the Barhabise-Tatopani section of Araniko Highway in Sindhupalchowk.
Permanent road repairs will be possible only after the rainy season gets over
Moreover, with the arrival of monsoon, the risk will be even grater. This stretch of the highway will remain closed till October/November.
Earlier, temblors had caused around a dozen major landslides from Khasuwa to Liping on the road stretch, burying vehicles and damaging the road at many places.
Division Road Office Dolakha, with the help of security personnel had then cleared the road, and pulled out bodies and wreckage of vehicles. With the onset of monsoon, the office has deemed the highway very risky.
“We, along with the Chinese authorities, did our best to open the road, but what could we do amidst the rain and frequent landslides?” asked division Engineer Ram Bahadur Gurung , adding, the road could be cleared in three days or so if the rains stopped.
“As the road and hills above are riddled with cracks, it is really risky to travel on the road throughout the season,” said Gurung, who also informed about the tremendous pressure his office has been facing to open the road stretch from Sindhupalchowk district administration office due to the crippling impact on supply of relief materials and relocation of households to safer places.
The condition of the highway stretch from Kathmandu, Koteshwor to Dolalghat in Kavre is in no good shape either, as rainfall has been triggering landslides. Meanwhile, onset of the rainy season has posed greater risk to BP Highway.
“In view of the risk, donors have inspected the highway thrice. They will remove debris if landslide occurs during the rainy season,” said highway project chief Bharatkrishna Devajoo, adding, “Permanent initiatives for risk mitigation shall start only after monsoon.”
The project had installed Emergency Information System on the highway. Through this system, one can get information about the condition of the road through the website on their cell phones.
“In case there is rain, landslides or flooding, the information is uploaded to the website immediately,” said Devajoo, adding, there are digital notice boards at Koteshwor, Dhulikhel and Bardibas.