Vehicular movement to take around two weeks to resume on the Mid-Hill Highway, authorities sayThe highway remains obstructed after rain-swollen Badigad stream swept away a road section on Sunday.
Vehicular movement at Bhimgithe on the Mid Hill Highway has been suspended since Sunday and is not expected to resume for another couple of weeks.
The road section was obstructed two weeks ago by landslides on two parts of the highway, authorities said. The landslides triggered by the flooded Badigad stream has cut off Bhimgithe in Badigad Rural Municipality, Dhorpatan Municipality, Nisikhola and Tamankhola Rural Municipalities from the district headquarters, Baglung. Many vehicles from Baglung, Kathmandu, and Butwal remain stranded in Bhimgithe compelling residents to walk for almost two hours to reach Turture in Dhorpatan.
Abreast with the problems locals have been facing for the past two weeks, the district office has been making efforts to clear the highway and resume vehicular movement. Chief District Officer Luk Bahadur Chhetri said, “We are looking at various options to clear the highway; technicians have advised us to blast a part of the hillside debris to open one-way traffic movement. It could take about 15 days to resume movement.”
The other option to connect the rural municipalities to the district headquarters is to open a diversion, said Kiran Shrestha, an engineer working at the Baglung section of the mid-hill highway. “There wasn’t much we could do after the stream swept away the road section. We are now trying to construct a diversion immediately,” said Shrestha.
According to the people’s representatives, the municipalities have also discussed opening a three-km track to make way for vehicles stranded at Bhimgithe but road engineers do not support the idea. “Opening yet another road section will lead to more landslides, as the new track will be able to accommodate heavy vehicles. There is no point to opening a new track given the terrain of the mid-hills,” said Shrestha.
However, citing the problems faced by the locals, Dev Kumar Nepali, mayor of Dhorpatan Municipality, said that vehicular movement should be resumed immediately. “Three municipalities stand to suffer if this continues. The locals will soon face a shortage of daily essentials,” said Nepali.
Vehicular movement was obstructed for a month last monsoon too because of a similar landslide in Bhimgithe. According to authorities, 500 metres of the road section that was obstructed by a landslide last year is still a risk-zone for vehicles.
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