By Ishwor Chandra Jha, Kathmandu, Nov. 25: Construction pace of the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track has been accelerated with the arrival of international consultant and technical team.
The much awaited project has been in snail-pace owing to lack of finalization in the Detailed Project Report (DPR), delay in approval of the DPR, dillydallying in selecting international consultant for the project and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shantosh Ballave Poudyal, spokesperson of the Nepali Army, said that the 72.5 km long express way connecting Nijgadh of Bara district and Kathmandu took pace with the arrival of the international consultant and the technical team.
The NA has been awarded with management of the construction work of the fast track.
The fast track that starts from Nijgadh and goes through Makawanpur and Lalitpur will provide the shortest route to reach Kathmandu from Tarai-Madesh.
A Cabinet decision son May 4, 2017 had entrusted the NA with responsibility to construct the fast track and its DPR was approved over a year ago, on August 18, 2019.
The construction cost of the fast track is estimated to be Rs. 175 billion as per the DPR while the construction is expected to be complete by 2023-2024
Some 16.21 per cent of progress has been made in physical construction of the road and Rs. 16 billion and 660 million has been spent so far, according to the NA's Public Relations and Information Directorate.
According to the DPR, the expressway will have 6.41 kilometers of tunnels. There will be 10.59 kilometers of bridges. 88% of the work related to leveling land with stones and soil in 55.5 km section has been completed thus far.
An agreement was reached with MS Yooshin Engineering, a Korean consulting company, for the design and construction supervision of the express way project.
Spokesperson Poudyal informed that eight experts including the team leader of the consulting company have come to Nepal and started the work.
Evaluation of the bidders for tunnel construction underway
The pre-qualification has been called on September, 15, 2020 for the selection of the international companies, in order to build the tunnel way along the express way, and the interested firms submitted their bids on September 30, 2020.
The evaluation of the proposals has been ongoing, said Poudel.
He informed that the construction of the tunnel is targeted to start within April.
Access road is being constructed to facilitate the construction of tunnels. Three access roads are being constructed at the entrance and exit points of the tunnel section.
Similarly, in order to reach to the access road, the target is to install 12 bailey bridges. Out of which, 2 bailey bridges in Nijgadh have been already set up.
The bailey bridge construction has been started in Rajdar, Dhedre, Sisnari and Khokana, although construction in Khokana has been halted because of the disputes.
Spokesperson Poudyal shared that efforts have been made to settle the dispute so it is believed that the construction will resume at the earliest.