Nagdhunga tunnel report to be ready this month

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Feb 6, 2018-

The Department of Roads (DoR) has been preparing to appoint a contractor to build a tunnel under the Valley’s western hills connecting Nagdhunga and Naubise.

A detailed project report (DPR) for the tunnel project will be ready by February-end, and the DoR will call global tenders to appoint a contractor for its construction, the department said.

Nippon Koei, the Japanese consultant hired by the DoR to prepare the DPR and supervise the construction, is about to complete the task.

“After we receive the DPR for the Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project, it will take us about a month to study it. Then we will publish a tender notice inviting contractors for its construction,” said Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, chief of the Foreign Cooperation Branch at the DoR. “If everything goes well, we will have the contractor working on the project within this fiscal year.”

The tunnel, which will be bored through the hills in the western part of the Valley, is being developed under an official development assistance loan from the Japanese government. It is being built on the key highway linking Kathmandu with the national highway network and the Indian border in the south. The Nagdhunga tunnel will eliminate the circuitous route over the valley rim and cut travel time.

The Japanese government had signed an official development assistance loan agreement with the Nepal government worth Rs15.2 billion for the construction of the tunnel in December 2016. The repayment period has been fixed at 40 years and the grace period at 10 years. The loan carries an interest rate of 0.01 percent per year.

The Nagdhunga Tunnel Project has basically two components: construction of a 2.45-km tunnel from Basnetchhap to Sisne Khola, and a 2.6-km approach road from Basnetchhap to Thankot. The tunnel and approach road are expected to cut travel time over the mountainous route from Nagdhunga to Naubise, the main gateway to Kathmandu. Also, traffic flow is expected to become smoother on the stretch after the tunnel is built.

The Nagdhunga-Naubise section is prone to gridlock due to its many hairpin bends and vulnerability to landslides. The proposed tunnel will have two 3.5-metre-wide lanes and a 2.5-metre-wide shoulder. It will also have LED lighting facility, mechanical ventilation, evacuation tunnel door and emergency telephone service.

Likewise, the approach road will have two bridges, toll booths and a roadside rest area for travellers. The rest area, spread over 4,650 square metres, will have parking space for nine heavy vehicles and 23 light vehicles, fast food restaurants, shops and toilets. The cost of the project is expected to around Rs20.2 billion.

Published: 06-02-2018 10:20

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