Highway contractor to be responsible for road repair, maintenance for five years

  • Department of Roads has implemented the provision for the first time on 115-km Narayangadha-Butwal section of the East-West Highway

Mar 23, 2019-

Contractor of the Narayagadh-Butwal road widening project will be responsible for repair and maintenance of the road section under the East-West Highway for five years, according to the Department of Roads.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the project contractor, officially began works after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid foundation stone on Friday.  Under the project, the 115-km road section will be expanded from the current two lanes to four.

This is the first time that the Department of Roads has implemented the provision making contractor responsible for road repair and maintenance for five years, according to officials at the department.

“Until now, we have been implementing the provision where contractor takes responsibility of maintaining the roads for one year after the completion of work,” said Keshav Kumar Sharma, deputy director general of the department. “Widening the Narayangadh-Butwal Road is the first project where we are making contractor responsible for maintenance work for five years.”

This means the Chinese contractor will be in Nepal for more than eight years as the completion deadline of widening the Narayagadh-Butwal road is three and a half years. The department officials said that the contractor committing to maintain the road for five years will help ensure quality in works. “If the contractor compromises on quality, it will have to bear high repair and maintenance bill,” said Sharma.

The department awarded the contract of this project to the Chinese firm for Rs17 billion. As the amount also includes the cost of  repair and maintenance, the government should not make extra payment to the contractor for maintenance work for five years, according to the department.

Having implemented the provision of five-year maintenance on the Narayagadh Butwal section of the East-West Highway, the department plans to continue with the system in all other sections of the highway.

It is also being implemented on the 87-km Kamala-Kanchanpur section of the East-West Highway, according to Asian Development Bank—the main funding agency to both sections of the highway.

“Not only on the East-West Highway, the provision will also be implemented on other road-widening projects in the existing strategic roads and new highways,” said Sharma.

The department has been spending Rs4-5 billion in maintenance works of roads and bridges every year. Around Rs4.5 billion has been allocated for repair and maintenance this fiscal year, according to the department.

According to Sharma, the department needs around Rs12 billion every year to properly repair and maintain entire operating highways whose cumulative length is around Rs12,000km.

“We can complete repair works of a third of the operating highways every year,” said Sharma. “As we cannot maintain the road when there is minor damage due to lack of adequate budget, we have to spend more for the same roads and bridges after they are badly damaged.”

Published: 24-03-2019 07:00

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