Khokana will remain Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway entry point

  • Korean firm submits draft of the detailed project report to the Nepal Army
- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Feb 5, 2019-

Despite reservations from a section of locals and conservationists, the Korean company tasked with preparing the detailed project report of the Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway has fixed Khokana as the entry point for the road that will reduce the travel time to the Capital from Bara to less than an hour.

 Soosung Engineering and Consulting, in its final draft of the detailed project report, has retained Khokana as the starting point of the multi-billion rupees national pride project, claiming it is the most feasible place. The draft was submitted to the Nepal Army, which has taken the charge of construction, on Sunday for the review.

Some of the residents of Khokana, a traditional Newar settlement in southern Lalitpur, have charged the government with assaulting their religious heritage, livelihood and indigenous identity by acquiring the land for a number of development projects including the expressway. The other projects concerning their locality are the Outer Ring Road Development Project, the Bagmati Corridor, a Satellite City, and a high-tension power line.

Though around 50 percent of the people in Khokana have received compensation for their land, others are demanding that the entry point for the expressway be shifted to Farsidol.

Maj Gen Yogendra Khand, chief of the project, said Khokana was assessed as the most suitable place after reviewing multiple factors, which include construction of a dry port in the future. “The place was finalised after a detailed study,” he told the Post.

A technical team of the Army will review the draft of the detailed report and forward it to the Korean firm for finalisation. The firm will revise the draft based on the comments from the Army, which then needs to be endorsed by the government.

Nepal Army Spokesperson Brig Gen Yam Dhakal said the entire finalisation process will be completed in a month. The preliminary project works are progressing based on a 2008 feasibility study of the Asian Development Bank, without the DPR.

According to Khand, the distance of the expressway will be shortened by around 4 km to 72.5 km from 76.2 km after the detailed report increased the number of tunnels along the expressway.

Instead of one in ADB’s recommendation, there will be three tunnels which will be 6 km in length.

The change in alignment, according to the Army, has not only shortened the road but also decreased the number of high bridges.

It claims that having tunnels over the bridges is safer in earthquake-prone countries like Nepal.

The Army, however, has not disclosed the estimated cost which was expected to be around Rs 132 billion earlier. The cost is sure to escalate after the addition of two tunnels. There will be 98 bridges in total which will cover 11.17 km over 15 percent of the total length of the roadway, according to the draft report.  

The preliminary DPR envisions setting up toll plazas in three places Khokana, Budhune and Nijagh—these places also are the exit points.

Construction of the much hyped roadway began in May 2017 and was handed over to the Army three months later by the Department of Roads. Construction of the expressway has to be completed in the next two-and-a-half years to meet its deadline.

DPR Highlights

  • Entry point to remain in Khokana
  • Three tunnels with 6 km of total length
  • Toll plazas in Khokana, Budhune and Nijgadh
  • Total bridges 98 with 11.17 km total length

Published: 05-02-2019 08:37

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