Road Dept seeks Rs 4b for bridge works

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Road Dept seeks Rs 4b for bridge works

Jun 17, 2013-

The Department of Roads has demanded the government allocate at least Rs 4 billion for bridge works in the budget for the next fiscal year. The fund sought includes expenses for construction of new bridges, improvement and maintenance of old ones on local, feeder roads and highways.

“We will be requiring a total of around Rs 5 billion, of which Rs 1 billion will be supported by the World Bank under the Bridges Improvement and Maintenance Programme (BIMP),” said Umesh Jha, manager of the department’s Bridge Project.

He said the department has also requested the Finance Ministry to increase the budget ceiling for bridge works in the next fiscal year.

This fiscal year, the government had provided Rs 3.75 billion for the project. The department said it requires more budget for bridges in the Strategic Road Network (SRN) as the government has to provide counterpart fund for the BIMP which is focused on SRN bridges.

From this fiscal year, the government has implement the BIMP that aims to build 26 new bridges, complete of 95 under-construction bridges and carry out maintenance of around 500 existing bridges on SRN roads within the next five years.

The department has completed awarding tender for the construction of nine new bridges, while technical evaluation of remaining 17 is underway, according to the department.

Last year, the World Bank had signed an agreement with the government to support $60 million for five years (2012-13 to 2016-17) for SRN bridge construction and maintenance work under its new lending mechanism of the Project for Result (P4R).

Naresh Man Shakya, senior divisional engineer of the Bridge Project, said as a part of the project, they started maintenance of 26 bridges this year.

“Our finding shows 98 bridges require urgent maintenance, 230 need major maintenance and 98 need minor maintenance,” said Shakya.

The department has set a target of bringing almost all bridges in “fair to good” condition in the next five years.

Under the BIMP, the department will also carry out maintenance of around 40 old bridges on the Dhalkebar-Pathlaiya section of the East-West Highway. These bridges have not been repaired for over 30 years due to the negligence of the government.

Officials at the department said the highway bridges did not receive much government attention due to the lack of budget and political pressure to fund bridges on rural roads.

Published: 18-06-2013 09:29

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