North-south Highway to connect Khandabari to Kimathanka

Road-widening and graveling of Deurali-Pathivara section in full swing

Published On: December 24, 2016 10:34 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

SANKHUWASABHA, Dec 24: Work on road improvement and opening of a new track is in full swing along the Deurali-Pathivara section of the North-south Highway along the Koshi corridor.

Work to improve the 38-km section is underway and workers are busy widening the road, building support walls, and gravelling. 

Work on construction of a bridge on the Arun River along the highway is also in its final legs. Officials say the bridge will come into operation by the end of April 2017. 

The 162-km road project -- from Khandbari to Kimathanka -- was put on high priority after last year’s unofficial Indian blockade to create an alternative road network to connect with the north. The government plans to open the remaining 77-km track-and-gravel road within two years.

“The cabinet last year decided to upgrade existing roads into two lanes and also open a new two-lane track,” Gopal Sigdel, project director at Department of Road, said. 

Two weeks ago, helicopters delivered two excavators to the section upward of Pathivara to open a track. Likewise, contractors have separately opened a track from Kimathanka towards the south and a 15-km track has already been opened, Sidgel said. 

Sigdel said: “Carrying out track-opening in the upper hills is very difficult and also costly as equipment and machinery have to be transported by helicopters for even minor maintenance. Transporting fuel is also difficult.” 

Rajan Kumar Parajuli, a resident of Num Ward No 5, says work on road upgradation is taking place in a ‘fast mode’.

The contractors for upgrading the road has mobilized an over 500-strong workforce and workers are busy along 10 sections of the 38 km stretch. 

Locals say they are encouraged by the pace of progress of the road-widening.

“Road-widening will bring more prosperity to villages that produce cash crops like cardamom and other herbal products,” Prem Kumar Rai, former vice president of Num VDC, said. 

Workers were seen busy fitting a truss bridge to the bank of Arun River last week. They said they will finish the truss bridge in the next two months. It takes another two months to complete adding concrete to the truss bridge, officials say.

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