Shankar Shrestha/Republica The recently-blacktopped Narayanghat-Muglin road section at Dasdhunga.
First phase of blacktopping completed
DHADING, June 7: A passenger bus that left from Narayangarh at 7. 30 am on Wednesday morning reached Dhadingbesi at 11.30 am. According to the bus driver Ramakanta Sedhai, completing the journey in just four hours is ‘surreal’. It was possible after the completion of the first phase of blacktopping of the Narayanghat-Muglin road section. This has significantly reduced the hassles while commuting through the road section. Drivers like Sedhai are more than happy.
“The Narayanghat-Muglin road section was pathetic. Crossing it in a few hours was like a distant dream,” he said. “It was under construction since a long time and the road used to be blocked for many hours every day. Now, it is open round the clock,” he added.
After the blacktopping of the 33.2 kilometers of the road, the local administration has opened it for 24 hours starting from Wednesday. Vehicles are now operating non-stop along the road.
According to Sedhai, earlier it used to take at least 10 hours for him to get through the road. That too when everything was fine. In case of landslides or traffic jam due to road obstruction due to some other reason, it used to take many more hours.
“Many a times I had slept overnight in bus. Passengers faced the same hassles. Using this road was indeed like a punishment. Many started taking flights for this reason,” he stated. “Today, I feel really great to have a smooth ride in this road,” he added with a broad smile.
Since the road widening project started three years ago, passengers never have had smooth journey on this road. Depending on the situation, the road would be blocked either in the morning or evening. Sometimes, it would not be so systematic and drivers had to follow random routines.
Starting from Wednesday, with the finishing of the first phase of the blacktopping of the road, such hassles have come to an end, according to Narayangarh - Munglin Road Project.
“The final touch of the blacktopping was given on Tuesday night. It was ready for use from Wednesday morning,” reported engineer Shiva Khanal, information officer of the project. “During the renovation time, the road used to be blocked from 10 am to 4 pm, for six hours a day. Now, there is no need to do so,” he added.
He further said that the blacktopping has brought the problem of dust pollution to an end. The dusty road used to be a nuisance in dry season while the commuters had to experience a hellish journey due to muddy road during monsoon.
“The blacktopping is six inches thick. It is solid,” Khanal said.
The project had started right before the devastating earthquake of April 2015. The renovation could not gather pace due to the disaster and later because of the economic blockade imposed by India. The deadline was extended many times.
“We are delayed by 14 months as per the last deadline. We have not formally announced the completion of the project,” Khanal said. “There were many obstacles, so it could not be finished on time,” he added.
According to Khanal, the first phase of blacktopping was a bit challenging. Now, since this is over, the other two phases will be quite smooth. “We have already done final blacktopping too in a few sections,” he stated.
The road includes a total of 18 bridges. Khanal informed that construction or repairing of the bridges is also going on. “We have given the task to contractors,” he said.
Meanwhile, bus driver Sedhai stated that the end of traffic jam in the road is a huge relief to thousands of passengers and staff like him. He urged the administration to build bridges too, on time.
“It took so much time for the government to upgrade the road. People endured much hassles. We wish even the bridges are built on time,” he remarked.
Narayanghat- Munglin road section witnessed number of accidents in the last few years which took lives of dozens of people and injured hundreds more. Despite an urgency to complete the project on time, it had not happened for several reasons. At least, over 8,000 vehicles pass through this road section per day, according to Khanal.