Monsoon arrives with landslides in the highway

Published On: June 20, 2017 09:30 AM NPT By: Ramesh Kumar Paudel

CHITWAN, June 19: With the beginning of monsoon season, landslides have been noticed along the Narayangadh - Mugling road section. On Sunday, vehicular movement along the road got disrupted for nine hours because of landslides at Kalikhola. The road along the section has been under construction since months. The traffic had resumed at 12 noon. 

“Continuous rain for the last three-four days affected the hill which was dug to widen the road,” said engineer Shiva Khanal, information officer at the Narayangarh Mugling Road Project.  Because of the obstruction, vehicle queue on both sides of the road extended to 11 kilometers, he added. 

The section was affected by several landslides last monsoon also. Locals stated that landslides are common along the road section even during dry season, let alone in monsoon. 

“The monsoon has just begun and the landslides have already stopped vehicular movements for nine hours,” said Milan Sharma, a local of Mugling, suggesting passengers traveling through the road to expect more of such disturbances in the coming days. 

Before the massive landslide on Sunday, the road was obstructed by a relatively smaller landslide at 9 pm on Saturday. The debris was cleared within two hours and vehicular movement had resumed at 11 pm.  However, the movement came to a grinding halt at 3.30 am on Sunday, informed Chandranarayan Yadav, chief of the road widening project. 
This road section is used by around 10,000 vehicles every day. When the road is blocked here for even an hour, thousands of passengers are affected. According to Sharma, regular obstruction from landslides has been a serious hassle to the public. 

“It does not feel good to see people facing so much of hassles. Passengers look helpless when vehicles do not move even for hours,” he wondered. 

Because of the huts on the edge of the road where the landslide had obstructed, workers were forced to clean the debris by loading it onto a tripper and dumping it elsewhere. “Huts near the road were affected by the landslide. To avoid further damage to them, we had to carry the debris and dump it elsewhere. Because of this, it took hours for clearing it,” Khanal said. 

Apart from the obstruction because of the landslides, vehicular movement along the road is restricted from 10 am to 4 pm to ease the road widening activities since the last few months. And when the road is blocked for extra hours, it increases hassles for the road users. 

The road widening project launched two years back was expected to complete this year. However, even half of the work has completed. Khanal informed Republica that they expect the project to complete by end of December. However, Sharma warned that the progress would be slower during monsoon. After completion of the project, 36 kilometer stretch of the road will be upgraded to Asian standard two-lane road.

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