Poor visibility on dusty Butwal-Narayanghat road section raises accident riskIncomplete road expansion project has made the road section prone to accidents.
The Butwal-Narayanghat section of the East-West Highway has become accident prone due to poor visibility caused by dust clouds kicked up by passing vehicles.
The condition is particularly poor along the 14 km Daunne road stretch between Dumkibas and Bardaghat. It takes more than three hours for vehicles to pass through the stretch.
The road section was heavily damaged by this year’s monsoon. There are hundreds of potholes and slippages on the road, making travel difficult for everyone.
Indra Chapagain, a truck driver of Pragatinagar, said, “There’s low visibility on the road due to the dust and there are potholes everywhere. It’s become dangerous to drive on this road. There are no traffic police along the road stretch and drivers tend to overtake, leading to accidents.”
In 2019, China State Construction Engineering Corporation was awarded the contract to expand and repair the road section. But the road is still in a pitiable condition, say locals. “The road was severely damaged by landslides this year. No repair work has been done yet,” Ram Chandra Bhandari, a local resident of Arun Khola Bazaar, told the Post.
The poor road condition has also affected the locals of the main bazaar areas in Nawalparasi (East) and (West).
“The locals have been requesting the authorities to spray water on the road to minimise dust, but to no avail,” said Bhandari. “None of the authorities have paid heed to our request.”
Chhatra Paudel, mayor of Gaindakot Municipality, said vehicular movement along the road stretch has also been affected after bridges and culverts were demolished as a part of the road expansion project.
“The damaged bridges and culverts have been left unattended until now. The Division Road Office in Nawalparasi (East) is also not paying any heed to repair the road,” said Paudel.
Manamaya Pangeni, chief district officer in Nawalparasi (East), said the District Administration Office has been asking the Division Road Office and the road project to take initiatives in repairing the damaged road time and again.
“On Wednesday, we went to inspect the road condition. I have instructed the project workers to remove the landslide debris and repair the road immediately,” Pangeni said.
The Post tried to contact Ramesh Disti, chief at the Butwal-Narayanghat Road Construction Project, to ask about the road’s expansion and maintenance, but he was not available for comment.
Daunne road section is a part of the Butwal-Narayanghat road. The government has allocated Rs16.99 billion, of which 85 percent will be covered by loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank, for the road expansion work along the Butwal-Narayanghat stretch.
The Department of Roads had signed an agreement with China State Construction Engineering Corporation in February 2019 to implement the project. As per the plan, the existing two-lane road will be upgraded to six lanes within the next four years.
Under the road expansion project, two parallel bridges will also be constructed on the road stretch. The road project should also construct at least 15 underpasses or overpasses for the movement of wildlife along the Daunne-Gaindakot section.