Nepal gets $180m ADB loan to improve East-West highwayThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $180 million to support improvements to Nepal’s East-West Highway, the country’s main domestic and international trade route also known as the Mahendra Highway.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $180 million to support improvements to Nepal’s East-West Highway, the country’s main domestic and international trade route also known as the Mahendra Highway.
“The highway’s road surface — Nepal’s busiest route — is in fair to poor condition and does not segregate oncoming traffic for slow-moving vehicles and pedestrians,” said ADB Transport Specialist Johan Georget. “Improving the road will boost the efficiency of Nepal’s transport system, strengthen national and regional connectivity to promote growth and trade, and improve road safety.”
Nepal’s road network, which includes eight north-south and three east-west corridors, carries more than 90 percent of passengers and goods in the country. The project road carries an average of 8,600 vehicles daily, with more than a quarter of them heavy vehicles, the ADB said in a press statement. “This average is forecast to grow to 25,400 vehicles a day by 2033.”
The project will improve and rehabilitate about 87 kilometres between Kanchanpur and Kamala on the East-West Highway, and will upgrade the highway section to a four-lane dual carriageway to cater to the projected increase of traffic demand, including a new road surface and drainage.
Road safety will be significantly improved, as a centre median will reduce head-on collisions, while service lanes in populated areas will reduce rear-end and side-on collisions, particularly for pedestrians, motorcycles, and cyclists.
The project will also finance civil works and equipment packages to improve road safety along the entire 1,027 km of the East-West Highway, and support road safety campaigns. The loan will also finance preparation of detailed designs for future road projects along the corridor. Accompanying the loan is an ADB technical assistance grant of $750,000 to help prepare a national road safety policy and action plan, strengthen the road safety council, carry out a road safety assessment of the corridor, identify the location of potential service areas, and promote gender equality measures in the transport sector.
Contractors are currently invited to purchase bidding documents and submit their proposals, and construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019, the ADB said. Civil works contracts will include a performance-based maintenance period of 5 years after completion of construction, which is due to finish in 2022. The total project cost is $256.4 million, of which the government will inject $76.4 million.