Tunnel highway, a milestone for prosperity


 Kathmandu, Nov 5 . The first-ever modern tunnel expressway, Nagdhunga-Sisnekhola, is expected to be a milestone in the area of road infrastructure and transportation of Nepal.

The planned construction of ‘flyover’ besides tunnel along the route also is considered to a leap forward in road infrastructural development.

It would not only ease traffic congestion and stagnation on the road stretching from Kalanki to Naubise but also contributes to the country’s efforts for prosperity.

According to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) developed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the investment made in the tunnel highway would be raised within seven years.

The sophisticated tunnel highway with flyover is considered to be a panacea to address snarling traffic jam surfaced along the Kathmandu entry route. The construction of the structure is gaining momentum with its foundation stone laid by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on last October 21.

Technically a tunnel highway stretching over 500-metre is considered modern. Ventilators are also arranged for air and light passage in the tunnel structure.

There are three tunnel routes having length less than 500-metre in Nepal. The Nagdhunga-Sisnekhola expressway is so far the first having length over 500 metres.

Though the expressway was envisioned around one and a half decade ago, its construction was not taken ahead due to several aspects including financial management.

The agreement to this effect was signed with JICA agreeing to extend financial and technical assistance. In the last month, the government had inked an agreement with Japanese construction firm, Hazama Ando Corporation, to construct the tunnel project.

Chief of Development Coordination Implementation Division under Department of Road, Arjun Jung Thapa said the traffic congestion surfaced along the Nagdhunga-Naubise road section would be removed with the operation of the expressway.
‘Tunnel road is the only solution in the terrace from road infrastructural perspective’, he said, adding 42-month-long duration is adequate time to complete the construction of tunnel road.

The representatives of the company now are in Japan in order to bring necessary equipments so the construction works will begin immediately after their return, he shared.

It takes at least six months for the construction company to manage necessary equipments. ‘This time period is however the part of total project duration (42 months)’, he informed.

Under the project, two tunnels, one with 9.5-metre and another with four-metre, would be constructed. Two flyovers, a service centre and a 3.1-km road would be built.

One flyover is to be constructed at the entry point of tunnel road and another is to be built at Satungal. The tunnel is not of three lanes. However, three vehicles can easily pass. Auxiliary tunnel is arranged for immediate rescue.

The tunnel construction process had started two years back with JICA’s 0.01 percent soft loan assistance. It requires total investment of Rs 22 billion in which JICA has agreed to provide concessional loan of Rs 16 billion and Nepal government would mobilize Rs 6 billion from its internal treasury, shared the Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project.