China to start upgrading Syabrubesi road soon

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Dec 26, 2018-

China has informed the Department of Roads that it will soon start upgrading the 18-km Syabrubesi-Rasuwa-gadhi section of the Galchhi-Trishuli-Rasuwa-gadhi highway, a major north-south trade route linking Nepal with the northern neighbour.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry notified the department that it had appointed a contractor to implement the task, and that its representatives would arrive in Nepal in a few days to begin work on the construction site. “I have received an email from Chinese officials saying that they will visit us soon,” said Keshav Kumar Sharma, chief of the Foreign Cooperation Branch at the department. “They will probably be here in a week with the contractor to 

start work.” 

The Syabrubesi-Rasuwa-gadhi section of the 82-km highway is being improved with Chinese aid into an 8-metre-wide, double-lane, all-weather highway. The Roads Department estimates that it will take three years to complete the 

project. 

Nepal and China signed an agreement several years ago to upgrade the highway connecting the two countries. Subsequently, in December 2016, they signed a Rs15.7 billion (RMB 1 billion) bilateral assistance pact. A portion of the funds will be used to repair and improve the Syabrubesi-Rasuwagadhi road. The accord was signed by Leela Mani Paudyal, ambassador of Nepal to China, and Zhang Xiangchen, Chinese vice-minister for commerce, on behalf of their respective governments.

The Roads Department is improving the rest of the highway. It said that it had achieved 30 percent progress on the 46-km Galchhi-Mailung section. Currently, the project office is acquiring land on the roadsides to widen it. 

“We have acquired land along a 30-km stretch, and it is ready to be upgraded,” said Subodh Devkota, project chief of the Galchhi-Trishuli-Rasuwa-gadhi Highway Project. 

The Nepal Army has completed opening the track of the 18-km Mailung-Syabrubesi section and handed over the project to the department. According to Devkota, the department is planning to invite tenders to blacktop the Mailung-Syabrubesi stretch within the third week of January. 

“We need to repair parts of the road damaged by landslides during the last monsoon. After the repair work is done, we will call for bids and appoint a contractor to blacktop it,” said Devkota. “Considering the strategic importance of the highway, we have prioritised the upgradation.” He added that the project aimed to complete improving at least 30 km of the road by April 2019. After the upgradation, the 82-km highway is expected to boost Nepal’s trade with China. 

 

Published: 26-12-2018 07:07

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