Global bids to be called for Nagdhunga tunnelThe Roads Department plans to call global tenders to appoint a contractor for the construction of the Rs20.2-billion Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel in two-three weeks.
The Roads Department plans to call global tenders to appoint a contractor for the construction of the Rs20.2-billion Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel in two-three weeks.
Currently, it is reviewing the bidding documents prepared by a Japanese consultant. Nippon Koei of Japan, which has also been assigned to supervise the building, submitted a detailed project report and the bidding documents in the beginning of April.
The Roads Department has asked the consultant to make a few changes in the bidding documents. “The consultant is likely to take several weeks to revise the documents as per our suggestion,” said Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, chief of the Foreign Cooperation Branch at the Roads Department.
“Once the documents have been revised, we will instantly initiate the procurement process to select a contractor.” The department is planning to start the construction of the Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel within this fiscal year.
The underground passage that will be built beneath the western rim of the Kathmandu Valley is expected to slash travel time by eliminating the numerous switchbacks on this stretch of the highway.
The Nagdhunga Tunnel Project has two components: Construction of a 2.45-km tunnel from Basnetchhap to Sisne Khola, and a 2.6-km approach road from Basnetchhap to Thankot. The proposed tunnel will have two 3.5-metre lanes and a 2.5-metre shoulder. It will also have LED lighting, mechanical ventilation, evacuation tunnel door and emergency telephone service.
Likewise, the approach road will have two bridges, toll booths and a roadside rest area for travellers. The rest area, spread over 4,650 square metres, will have parking space for nine heavy vehicles and 23 light vehicles, fast food restaurants, shops and toilets. The cost of the project is expected to be around Rs20.2 billion.
The tunnel and approach road are expected to cut travel time over the mountainous route from Nagdhunga to Naubise, the main gateway to Kathmandu. It will eliminate the circuitous route over the Valley’s rim and cut travel time. Also, traffic flow is expected to become smoother on the stretch after the tunnel is built.
The tunnel project will be implemented with a loan from the Japanese government. Nepal and Japan signed an official development assistance loan agreement worth Rs15.2 billion for the construction of the tunnel in December 2016. The loan repayment period has been fixed at 40 years and the grace period at 10 years. The loan carries an interest rate of 0.01 percent per annum.