National

Expressway study agreement inked

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 3, 2018-

The Nepal Army, which is tasked with building the Kath-mandu-Tarai expressway, has signed a deal with a Korean company to prepare the detailed project report for the shortest link between the Capital and the plains being developed since August last year.

The Army signed a deal with the Soosung Engineering and Consulting on Tuesday, giving it four months to complete the report—a prerequisite for project construction. The Korean company was selected among 17 international firms after technical and financial evaluation of their bids. It’s been 16 months since the foundation stone was laid and 13 months since the Department of Roads handed over the project to the defence force.

Maj Gen Yogendra Khand, chief of the project, and Hwang Keehyun, president of the Korean firm’s overseas division, signed the deal amid a programme in the Capital. Gen Khand told the Post that the DPR, to be ready by January, would help expedite the construction.

Soosung claims on its website to have built many expressways in South Korea including the famous Seoul-Busan Expressway.

While the DPR is prepared, the Army has said, other construction works will go parallel. It claims that the report delays will not affect progress of the national pride project to be completed in the next three years.

The detailed study has five pillars—alignment, survey and design, cost estimation, environment impact assessment, and economic and financial analysis, most of which are covered by a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2008. Compared to the decade-old study, the DPR will have a better picture of the estimated cost and detailed designs of high-pier bridges and tunnels.

The Army in February invited international bids after negotiations to acquire the DPR prepared by an Indian consortium fell apart due to differences over its price. The consortium of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Transportation Networks, IL&FS Engineering and Construction and Suryavir Infrastructure Construction had demanded around Rs610 million.

The Korean company has agreed to prepare the report for Rs101.5 million. For the last 13 months, the Army has been carrying out preliminary works based on the detailed feasibility study prepared by the ADB.

While the NA has got charge of the project, domestic or international contractors will be tasked with most of the major works. Clearing the forest along with cutting and filling of soil in some parts will be done by the Army.

Besides, 28 domestic companies are carrying out the cutting and filing works. According to Khand, some 25 percent of the 99 bridges will be built by domestic contractors while international bids will be invited for the remaining bridges and three tunnels.

The 76 km expressway is expected to shorten travel time from Nijgadh in Bara to the Capital to an hour. It will have 6.07 kilometres of tunnel. Though the cost estimated by the ADB study was Rs90 billion, it has now soared to Rs132 billion.

Published: 03-10-2018 07:53

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