Kathmandu, February 8: The Nepali Army (NA) has approved the designs of the tunnels and connecting bridges to be built along the Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track, one of the national pride projects.
The NA signed two separate contracts with China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd and Poly Changda Engineering Co. Ltd last year for the construction of three tunnels, a few bridges, and a partial road under the Fast Track project.
NA Spokesperson Brigadier General Narayan Silwal said the NA approved the designs drafted by the contractors as per the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts. The contractors have reached the sites of tunnel construction after receiving approval of the designs. “They have started surveying the tunnel sites and work of digging the tunnels will start soon,” he added.
The estimated combined cost of the two contracts is Rs 44 billion. The government entrusted the NA to develop Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track in 2017. Once developed, this 72.5-km expressway will cut travel time to less than an hour from several hours at present between Kathmandu and Terai’s Nijgadh town of Bara district.
The NA began developing the Fast Track project by separating it into 11 different clusters and the clusters where the two Chinese contractors are working is considered as the most complicated sections of the entire road project involving tunnel construction.
Poly Changda group will construct two tunnels and bridges at Dhedre of Makwanpur (1.37 km from Simpani to Chalise Kholsi) and at Lendanda (1.4 km from Ghattepakha to Bandrekholsi) at a cost of Rs 25.95 billion.
Likewise, China State Construction Engineering will built another 3.3 km tunnel at Mahadevdanda at a cost of Rs 18.78 billion.