Nepali Army Headquarters (NAHQ) said on Wednesday that it would complete the Kathmandu-Terai/Madhes-Fast-Track Project (Expressway) in the next three-and-a-half years.
Organising a press conference at the Army Headquarters this morning, Nepali Army spokesperson and Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey said following the endorsement of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Expressway, the project could now be completed within three- and-a-half years. In its plan and policy programmes of the current fiscal year, the government had a plan to complete the construction of the Expressway in five years.
Brigadier General and project chief Sharad Lal Shrestha said that as mentioned in the DPR, NA had time up to 2024 to complete the project. “But, we will not prolong the project till 2024, which is more than two years from the given deadline, as we will mobilise additional human resource and technicians to meet the deadline,” Shrestha said.
The total estimated cost of the project, including VAT, is Rs. 175 billion. However, the real construction cost will stand at Rs. 155 billion, he said.
As per the recently endorsed DPR, the alignment of the project has been changed in Khokana, Lalitpur, (the zero point area) to avert historical Sikali temple and other pilgrimage sites as per the concerns of the locals.
The total length of the highway is now reduced to 72.5 km from 76.2 km. NA will also construct 87 bridges and three tunnels.
International contract biding regarding the tunnel construction will begin shortly, said Shrestha. However, it had already called ICB and had even shortlisted six international companies- five from China and one from Turkey– for the construction of the bridges.
Among the total bridges, 16 will be of special kinds, he said.
It will be a four-lane highway with 50 metres right of way, and 25 metres wide in the hill and 27 metres in the Terai.
Similarly, the tunnels will be constructed at Mahadev Danda (3.355 km), Dhedre (1.630 km) and Lendanda (1.430 km) of Makwanpur district.
The Expressway will be of Asian Highway Design Standard (Primary Class) with ‘A’ level of service, the NA said.
The DPR was prepared by Soosung Engineering & Consulting Company at the cost of Rs. 70.45 million. The company had begun the DPR preparation task on October 21, 2018.
The project will have three interchange sections– in Khokana, Budune and Nijgadh and three toll plazas in the same places. Similarly, there will be 12 passenger under passes (PUP), five vehicle under passes (VUP), one passenger over pass (POP) and four vehicle over passes (VOP).
Following the completion of the expressway, one can reach Nijgadh from Kathmandu in one hour and ten minutes.
A Cabinet meeting held on August 18, 2019 endorsed the DPR by amending the alignment of the DPR. The alignments were changed at Khokana of Lalitpur and a tunnel construction site at Dhingan-Lendanda in Makwanpur district.
The changed alignment has avoided Sikali temple and Kodesh of Khokana area and changed the tunnel alignment as proposed by the ADB’s report of 2007 and brought it into just one tunnel and added two short ones (one km each tunnel) in Dhedre and Lendanda.
Following the changes in the alignment, the government has to provide compensation to additional 338 ropanis of land in Khokana area. According to the NA, it was yet to provide land compensation to 572 of 15,403 ropanis of land acquired to develop the national pride project.