Country’s oldest highway in urgent need of repairTraveling through Tribhuvan Highway, the country’s oldest highway, is becoming increasingly treacherous and risky due to poor road conditions caused by a lack of timely maintenance. The blacktopping of the road has chipped off and given way to dangerous potholes, risking the lives of travelers.
Traveling through Tribhuvan Highway, the country’s oldest highway, is becoming increasingly treacherous and risky due to poor road conditions caused by a lack of timely maintenance. The blacktopping of the road has chipped off and given way to dangerous potholes, risking the lives of travelers.
The use of heavy excavators while opening a new motorway track above and below the highway has further worsened the road condition. The Division of Road Office in Hetauda had given a contract of Rs 30 million to Gauri Parbati KN Construction Company to upgrade road along the Bhaise-Sopyang section. However, due to delays by the contractor, the maintenance work has hardly seen any progress. Jayaram Adhikari, information officer and engineer at the office, said 20 percent of the maintenance work still remains to be done along the Bhaise-Sopyang section.
According to the division, the road has been divided into four sections for upgradation. Contracts have already been issued to upgrade three sections. Currently, maintenance of two sections of the road is underway while preparations are on to start work on the third section. The division officials, however, said that they lack the budget to begin work on the fourth section.
“Works are ongoing at the Palung-Simbhanjyang road section in Thaha Municipality while the work has been completed along the Palung-Daman Tower section. The section from Daman Tower to Simbhanjyang has yet to be upgraded,” said engineer Jayaram Adhikari. The 23-kilometre section from Simbhanjyang to Lamidanda has also not been upgraded.
The 18-kilometre section from Palung to Damechaur needs major repair works. The government has not allocated budget for the upgradation of the road section. DoR Hetauda had demanded Rs 250 million from the federal government to repair the section.
“We had asked for the budget during the previous and current fiscal years. But as the government did not allot any budget, we have not been able to start any work,” said Adhikari.
The condition of the highway further degraded after the number of vehicles plying the highway rose from around 50-60 vehicles to around 1,000 a day when the Muglin-Narayangadh road section was closed for maintenance.
“It is common for an old road to give way after sudden increase in the flow of vehicles,” said Adhikari. Another engineer at the office said the government has not given much attention to improve the 63-year old road. “This is an alternate road that links the Capital with other parts of the country. But it doesn’t come under government priority and receives no budget,” the engineer said. The highway was built in 2013 BS with the help from the Indian government. Before its construction, the only way to reach the Kathmandu Valley was to walk through Bhimphedi, Chitlang and Chandragiri.