Construction of flyover begins in GwarkoThe Rs170 million project is expected to ease traffic congestion in one of the busiest intersections of the ring road.
Construction of the Rs170 million four-lane flyover project at the Gwarko intersection in Lalitpur, one of the busiest intersections along the Ring Road, has begun.
The project completion deadline is February 2024.
Ashish Samanantar Religare JV has been awarded the project.
Nabin Man Shrestha, the project chief, said that the project has been awarded under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) based modality.
Under an EPC contract, a single contractor takes responsibility for all components like design, engineering, construction and procurement. The contract binds the contractor to deliver the project by the stipulated time and at the predetermined price regardless of any possible cost overruns.
The four-lane single-span bridge, with a 320-metre long ramp on the Balkumari side and a 185-metre long ramp on the B&B Hospital side, will be 35-metre long.
The construction work started on Sunday. There will be a minimum 6-metre vertical clearance for vehicles passing below the bridge.
“The vehicles moving along the ring road and those travelling on the Mangal Bazar-Imadol route will not confront each other at Gwarko intersection once the flyover comes into operation,” said SSP Rajendra Prasad Bhatta, spokesperson at the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office.
“Infrastructure like flyovers and underpass minimise the conflict points at the crossings resulting in a reduction in traffic congestion as well as accidents.”
According to traffic police, around 1.75 million vehicles ply the Kathmandu valley roads.
But there are no records on the number of vehicles plying on the ring road daily.
Some urban planners believe that the flyover will address traffic woes.
But they say there is a need to shift focus towards developing a reliable mass transit system rather than investing in flyovers.
Kishore Thapa, an urban planning expert at Nepal Institute for Urban and Regional Studies, argues it is already late to build flyovers in Kathmandu.
“A flyover diverts the traffic through grade separation and reduces congestion,” said Thapa. “Traffic jams at intersections cannot be managed by road expansion alone.”
“But they too cannot be a long-term solution to the valley’s traffic issues if the number of vehicles continues to rise at the present rate,” said Thapa, a former government secretary. “It may provide a mid-term solution for the next decade, but we need to develop mass transit systems such as metro trains in the long run.”
Urban planner Suman Meher Shrestha seconded Thapa, adding that the steep increase in the number of private vehicles due to an unreliable public transport system has worsened the traffic conditions in the valley.
“The number of private vehicles in the valley has already gone beyond the carrying capacity of the roads,” said Shrestha. “More than 80 percent of the registered private vehicles in the valley are motorcycles.”
“It is a good thing that a flyover at the Gwarko intersection will be built, it is required,” said Shrestha. “But what about traffic bottlenecks at other intersections?”
“We have plans to build either a flyover or underpass, whichever is appropriate, at Satdobato, Ekantakuna and Nakhu Dobato,” said Bhimarjun Adhikari, spokesperson at the Department of Roads.
Shrestha sees the need for an integrated transportation plan to systematically develop a public transit system in the Valley.
“Along with an expansion in urbanisation, the authorities need to ensure a reliable public transportation system,” said Shrestha. “Nepal needs to develop either metro train, monorail, light rail and Bus Rapid Transit, whichever is appropriate and feasible.”
The construction work has worsened traffic congestion at Gwarko. Authorities said vehicular movements during the construction period will be managed by rerouting or diverting to service lanes.